2018 National Planning Conference

BETTMAN SESSION: Gentrification and the Law

Sunday, April 14, 2019 from 10:30 a.m. - noon PDT

CM | 1.50
L | 1.50

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC198063

Location: 3020

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  • Understand federal laws governing what can be done to slow or mitigate the impacts of gentrification, including the Fair Housing Act, Community Reinvestment Act, and Americans With Disabilities Act.
  • Identify the trends in gentrification during the post-war years, and whether current concerns with gentrification differ substantively or in scale with similar pressures in the past.
  • Explore unintended or undesired consequences of local government actions to slow or mitigate gentrification, and compare the potential good and unintended harm associated with different anti-gentrification strategies.


Gentrification is on everyone's minds, but the legal limits on how communities can respond to these pressures are often unclear. Although well-meaning ideas about how to slow the process or mitigate impacts of gentrification are raised regularly, some of those ideas may not be legal, and others have significant unintended consequences. This session explores those laws that impose obligations to protect America's citizens against some forms of pressure and discrimination, as well as those that prohibit certain local actions. A national land-use attorney reviews the Community Reinvestment Act, Fair Housing Act Amendments, and Americans With Disabilities Act, constitutional limits on interference with contracts or the fundamental right to buy and sell property, and additional protections adopted in California that could serve as models for others. A national consultant discusses whether and how current gentrification pressures differ from the normal ebb and flow of neighborhood change, and highlights different responses to gentrification across the U.S. A former California Housing and Community Development Department official discusses what has and has not worked in California. Finally, a second national consultant discusses successful local initiatives. Speakers also address unintended consequences of different state and local initiatives.

This session qualifies for 1.5 Law CM.

This course is approved for 1.50 Illinois MCLE general credit hours.

Pre-session materials for attendees to review:

Additional Written Materials - Gentrification and the Law

Session Speakers

Donald L. Elliott, FAICP
Clarion Associates of Colorado
Denver, CO

William R. Anderson, FAICP
San Diego, CA

Cathy Creswell
California Department of Housing and Urban Development
Sacramento, CA

Bijal Patel
Oakland, California, City Attorney's Office