Since the 1990s, Richmond’s story largely has been one of success. Spurred and supported by the expansion of the Mid-Atlantic Interstate 95 corridor, the city saw employment increase, population loss reverse and median incomes increase from $24,000 in 1990 to $54,000 in 2020.
Yet, as often is the case, Richmond’s rising tide failed to lift all ships. Today, the city’s poverty rate remains at roughly 25%, with areas in decline standing in noticeable contrast to their more affluent counterparts. Add to this the prevalence of undesirable land uses — including vacant and blighted parcels, and surface parking lots; and very real concerns about continued sprawl development — and it is clear that, despite its progress, Richmond’s efforts to become an equitable, vibrant, sustainable urban center have yet to come to full fruition.
co–author Josie Faass, Ph.D., is co-director of the Center for Property Tax Reform and executive director of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation. She is a graduate of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.