Open New York seeks to counter NIMBYism with YIMBYism

Group has backed large new developments in multiple New York neighborhoods

Apr.April 30, 2018 06:16 PM

Rendering of 80 Flatbush (Credit: Alloy Development via Politico)

UPDATED, 10:55 a.m., May 1: In Downtown Brooklyn, a massive high-rise project from Alloy Development is facing significant opposition from the community, as usual. But it is enjoying a solid amount of grassroots support as well.

The activists belong to a pro-development group called Open New York and have been advocating in favor of projects throughout the city in neighborhoods including Kips Bay and Union Square, according to Politico. The movement started in San Francisco, where newer and younger people moving to the area joined together to encourage more new development, and it has spread to New York as well.

In Downtown Brooklyn, Alloy Development’s proposal known as 80 Flatbush would bring about 900 new units of housing to the neighborhood, 200 of which would be affordable, and include a 986-foot tower. Longtime residents of the neighborhood voiced concerns about shadows and overloading the neighborhood’s infrastructure, but pro-development advocates say this type of resistance is what makes it harder for newcomers to move into cities.

The group has been criticized as a mouthpiece for the real estate industry, and the leader of New York’s organization, Ben Thypin, does run a real estate firm with former real estate writer Stephen Smith. However, he told Politico his interest in this issue was not related to his work in the industry.

“Right now, we’re in a situation where you have some rich, well-located neighborhoods that are not building enough housing,” he said, “and haven’t built enough housing for a very long time.”

New School urban policy professor Rachel Meltzer told the publication that simply building more housing is not going to cure the city’s affordability crisis.

“Housing markets aren’t uniform. They’re not this monolith,” she said. “They’re segmented, so building a lot of luxury units is not going to help those on the lower end of the affordability spectrum, and if it does, it’s going to take a really long time to trickle down.” [Politico]Eddie Small

This piece has been updated to reflect the latest height of 80 Flatbush.

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