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May 1992

President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
Kakaako's Gentrification (George Mason)
Charter Commission Moves to Revise Planning Process (Astrid Monson)
Addendum (rail stations) (George Mason)
LWV-Honolulu Board Nominees
Annual Meeting

Kakaako's Gentrification

from Pacific Business News, March 23, 1992

We recently came across an article by the late Donald Monson, who at the time was a retired planner, that appeared in the Oct. 10, 1982, edition of The Honolulu Advertiser. It was a prediction of what the likely result would be when the state's plan for Kakaako redevelopment got going.

Monson based his prediction on the action of the City Council in 1980 that increased allowable densities in the area to a point where it "created a speculative upsurge in land values, which in turn led the (state) to allow high-rise construction rather than setting more moderate densities." This, he said, would result in "costs affordable only by prestigious businesses and high-income residents."

What Monson didn't know then was that the high-income residents and prestigious businesses (as well as the non-prestigious ones) would be paying for a lot of low-cost subsidized housing interspersed with the high-end stuff. Kakaako, he feared, would "become another example of 'gentrification,' which has so often taken place in many of the country's formerly low-rent housing areas when they were redeveloped."

Well, it's now clear that private development will be limited to high-income residents and government will build for low-income residents but there will be no place for middle-income families or businesses that rely on moderate rents to remain competitive.

Too bad. But you didn't really expect government to cater to the people who pay most of the taxes, did you?

George Mason

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