Panel Paper: Suburban Upgrades: Residential Reinvestment in the Baltimore Suburbs

Thursday, November 7, 2013 : 12:10 PM
Boardroom (Ritz Carlton)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Bernadette Hanlon, The Ohio State University
In some suburbs, single-family homes have been expanded, a process referred to as mansionization or McMansion infill. New floors have been added; new rooms built on both sides of the original structure. This type of expansion has occurred in suburbs located in economically vibrant regions and close to strong employment centers. Redevelopment has the potential to change the socioeconomic composition of suburban neighborhoods in ways that classical gentrification has changed central city neighborhoods. Modest income families can be "priced out" of their suburbs as property values rise because of the redevelopment process. Using residential permit data for single-family housing, I examine redevelopment in the suburbs of Baltimore with the goal of determining the factors that lead to McMansion infill in the region. Using descriptive analysis, I found that substantial redevelopment is taking place in modest income neighborhoods in both the inner and outer suburbs of Baltimore. Using regression analysis, I found that the contributing factors relate specifically to transportation networks; population and housing characteristics; suburban growth policy; and water access along the Chesapeake Bay. Redevelopment of older suburbs is necessary to maintain a vibrant suburbia and certainly retrofitting sprawling edge and edgeless cities can help created more sustainable suburban forms. This paper considers some of the reasons for redevelopment in the Baltimore case.