NIMBYs “impose cost” on New York: Krugman

Liberal economist sides with industry and de Blasio on density

TRD New York /
Feb.February 19, 2016 10:01 AM

Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman is known as a vocal champion of the left. But that doesn’t mean he can’t side with the real estate industry – at least on the issue of density.

“New York City doesn’t have to be as expensive as it is,” he said at a talk with mayor Bill de Blasio hosted by the City University of New York Thursday night. “It is possible to build higher.”

Krugman, who writes a regular column in the New York Times and has come out in favor of density in the past, went on to bash the city’s NIMBYs. He argued that those who resist higher density are “imposing a cost on the rest of New York” by constraining housing supply, which ultimately pushes up its cost, hits low-income families hardest and aggravates inequality.

NIMBYism – an acronym for “not in my back yard” – is a dismissive term for neighborhood activists who oppose high-rise construction to keep an area’s character intact. In New York, NIMBY activists have historically held great sway through local community boards, which the city has to consult for zoning changes.

To Krugman, NIMBYism is a national problem. “What you see is that there’s a peculiar and fundamentally dysfunctional dynamic, which is the population doesn’t flow from low-productivity to high-productivity parts of the country – it’s the reverse,” he said. In other words: young people aren’t moving to cities like New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C. or Boston at the rates they should. Restrictive zoning that makes housing in big coastal cities unaffordable is partially to blame, he implied.

Unsurprisingly, de Blasio agreed. The mayor is currently trying to push a zoning plan through city council that would allow developers to build higher in some neighborhoods in return for affordability concessions.

“To be real with people: we are going to need a certain amount of height and density” to create affordable housing, de Blasio said, criticizing New Yorkers who support liberal policies on a city-wide level but oppose the creation of affordable housing through density in their own neighborhoods.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
A rendering of 165 Broome Street (Credit: Handel Architects)

Nonprofit plans affordable housing development near Essex Crossing

All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag

All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag

Mayor Bill de Blasi0, a rendering of Halletts Point, and Douglas Durst (Credit: Getty Images, Durst)

Feud with de Blasio pushes Durst to shelve Halletts Point

From left: Deputy Mayor of Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been, Sen. Brian Kavanagh (inset), Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, State Division of Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner Ruthanne Visnauskas (inset), Council member Keith Powers, with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio (background) (Credit: Anuja Shakya, Getty Images)

Politico shows and no-shows: What public officials attended the REBNY gala?

New York City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca and Industry City (Credit: Getty Images, Industry City)

Sunset Park Community Board divided on Industry City

Rafael Salamanca and the Bronx (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Bronx councilman snuffs out another de Blasio rezoning

Councilman Stephen Levin (Credit: Facebook, Getty Images)  

NYC bill would boost rental vouchers for homeless

From left:  Council member Rafael Espinal, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council member Antonio Reynoso (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Bushwick rezoning impasse puts de Blasio’s housing plan at risk

arrow_forward_ios
Loading...