Rezoning Uptown

The Story

The city council has approved a major rezoning that will permit taller buildings and more residential density in Manhattan’s mostly working-class Inwood neighborhood, and require developers to build or maintain subsidized units for low-income people. Mayor de Blasio sweetened the deal by promising hundreds of millions of dollars in new amenities, though this has not appeased local activists, who suspect that development will lead to displacement of current residents. The mayor is on the right track in rezoning neighborhoods like Inwood, located near existing subway lines and close to the city’s central business district. The city needs more development generally, without requirements for affordability. 

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Paradox: Only by building sufficient “luxury” units can the city be assured that lower-income people will not be displaced. Read more.

  2. Density: Opponents of the rezoning are worried about overcrowding, but residential density is the only way that the city can induce developers to provide subsidized, “affordable” units next to market-rate apartments. Read more.

  3. Hold Up: New York’s land-use approval process allows local councilmembers to hold up approval until extravagant conditions are met. Read more.

“ … farther back in New York’s history, before zoning and subsidized housing, when builders, free to construct residences as-of-right, built great swaths of brownstones in Brooklyn, apartments on the Grand Concourse, and two-family homes in Queens.”

Howard Husock, Manhattan Institute senior fellow

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

New York’s Pioneer Zones By James Panero (Summer 2010)

“Residents of formerly blighted neighborhoods deserve the city’s support.”

And in other news...

“Angel Barbosa allegedly purchased phones through the MTA and worked with a friend to hawk them.”