Theses Master's

Planning for Equity in Honolulu TOD: An Analysis

McNamara, Luke

As the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting has begun planning its TOD implementation, DPP has been increasingly concerned with the impact of the new TOD plans on existing communities, especially low-income and marginalized groups. At the request of the department, I have prepared the following report exploring how TOD can spark gentrification and displacement, and what stakeholders can do, using best practices and policy interventions, to lower or eliminate this risk. Special attention will be paid to the use of government lands, public investment, and other interventions that the DPP and other public sector stakeholders could take to limit displacement.

The report will be broken down into 4 distinct chapters; firstly, a brief introduction and setting consensus around what transit-oriented development is and the context Honolulu presents for planning TOD. This chapter will also briefly breakdown the DPP plans for TOD, giving an overview of the general framework as well as the specific neighborhood plans and overall reasoning behind the interventions. The next chapter will discuss concepts of equity, gentrification, and displacement, looking at what these terms mean in the context of TOD as well as determining how displacement and gentrification can be impacted by TOD. The third chapter will cover two case studies of “equitable TOD,” a new formation of TOD that
 puts emphasis on mitigating displacement.

Finally, the fourth chapter will take an in-depth dive into two neighborhood plans proposed by DPP, the Downtown and Waipahu plans. A detailed overview will be presented, as well as praise and critiques. I will then offer general recommendations to decrease the risk of displacement and any ways in which public investment or policy can improve equity considerations for these plans, based on the previous case studies and research. The overall goal of this report will provide a new perspective on the DPP’s TOD plans, provoke consideration of the existing framework, as well as provide a digestible and detailed compendium on how equity plays into TOD in general and in the specific context of Honolulu.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Stiles, Jonathan E.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 12, 2024