Policy wonks offer affordable housing solutions for Bloomberg’s successor

September 03, 2013 03:14PM

New York City’s next mayor will have plenty to keep him or her busy when it comes to affordable housing and new residential development.

While Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace initiative boosted investment in affordable housing, the expiration of subsidies for 8,500 affordable units per year — starting in 2017 as short-term limits expire — is raising questions about long-term affordable housing options.

“The city cannot continue to give developments public financing, zoning or tax incentives if they do not produce permanently affordable units,” Barika Williams, policy director at the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, wrote in a New York Times discussion. “We should return to the Koch model of working with community-based nonprofit developers who achieve long-term affordability and provide the greatest neighborhood benefit.”

One possible solution, according to discussion participant and Regional Plan Association fellow Julia Vitullo-Martin, is to increase the city’s limited supply of space by focusing on transit-oriented development. She opined that Bloomberg’s wide swathes of rezoned sections, particularly along the “formerly derelict” waterfront, were a step in the right direction. Ranking neighborhoods by concentration of transit would provide an analysis of which areas can best absorb the most new development, she wrote.

“The point is to create a device to capture part of the profits of development to improve the neighborhood being developed, and to relieve pressure elsewhere, even helping to save historic sections of the city,” Vitullo-Martin wrote. [NYT]Julie Strickland