Urban Revitalization: Assessment Methodologies and Expected Impacts
Urban areas in Latin America and the Caribbean are feeling the effects of urban decay in their city centers through the loss of critical urban functions and the decline of economic and social vitality. Revitalization efforts aim to enhance the functionality of public spaces and mobility, as well as to attract new businesses and residents. Nevertheless, revitalization initiatives are rarely subjected to a credible evaluation strategy, and as such, it is difficult to assess the extent of the benefits they generate. Further, existing evaluations tend to focus on the positive impacts in socio-economic and urban livability terms, but ignore any potential drawbacks, such as the displacement of current residents due to increased rents. With this in mind, this report: (1) provides a critical review of the literature on urban revitalization experiences and displacement of long-term residents; (2) presents impact evaluation methods that come closer to identifying a causal effect of urban interventions in local and individual outcomes; (3) discusses a method to approximate and characterize the extent of displacement of residents; and (4) offers suggestions that are relevant for the implementation of these methods in the Latin American and Caribbean context.