San Antonio is expected to gain 1 million people by 2040 and the City is planning to annex 66 square miles of commercial and residential areas. What should the city prioritize as it grows?
Without pause, Christine Drennon, head of Trinity University‘s Urban Studies, says affordable housing and public education are the first things on the list.
“The city is on the rise, but not with the people who made it,” Drennon said during a recent interview. “The people who worked really hard through the 20th century are still here and are still mostly lower middle class. We need to think about how to get them on the rise even more than things like improving the quality of life for Millennials moving downtown.”
Drennon’s credentials give her recommendation weight. She has researched and published about urban growth patterns for more than a decade, earning the national Urban Affairs Association’s premier award recognizing scholarship and activism. At the same time, Drennon has been on the ground in the thick of the community for years as a board member for Ella Austin Community Center and has worked with many nonprofits involved in the urban core.
“In Austin, the City’s upward momentum was not because the people of Austin who were there got a great education and bought houses. The big population didn’t go from working class to upper-middle class,” she said. “Instead, wealthy people moved in and the community got too expensive for old residents to stay. Our challenge is not to replicate that. How do we lift up the people who are here and allow them to do really well?”… Read more from the Rivard Report