Posted in LAM ONLINE, PEOPLE, REAL ESTATE, REGULATIONS, RESIDENTIAL, tagged Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, affordable housing, Ben Carson, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Congress for New Urbanism, Demolition, deregulation, Donald Trump, Enterprise, HOPE VI, Housing Density, HUD, HUD Secretary, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Mixed-Income, National Low-Income Housing Coalition, New Urbanism, Privatization, Urban Institute on February 16, 2017|
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By Zach Mortice
The Rockwell Gardens public housing project in Chicago, demolished in 2006. Photo by Paul Goyette.
The founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) started off with a bang. The small but influential cadre of advocates for walkable and traditional-looking urbanism began meeting in 1993—the first big gathering was held at the historic Lyceum in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, with its “enormous entablature,” as the historian Vincent Scully noted in his opening remarks. The CNU’s beginnings dovetailed with the passage of a piece of legislation that enshrined the group’s approach to city building as federal policy: the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOPE VI program. After decades of crumbling, dysfunctional government-built-and-managed public housing projects, housing would instead be at least partially constructed and controlled by private developers and management companies. They would build lower-density, “mixed-income” communities of row houses and garden apartments. By the numbers, the lower density was made easier because Congress, in 1995, ended what had long been the “one-for-one” replacement rule for any public housing to be demolished. Housing vouchers, to be used to pay private landlords (who are not required to accept them), were considered sufficient for tenants not accepted into newly built units. At any rate, the policy change posed no obstacle to architects and planners.
But the 2016 election of Donald Trump was a tidal wave that washes over every corner of government—public housing design guidelines and funding policy included. HUD and the New Urbanists’ HOPE VI legacy is, pending a likely confirmation, in the hands of Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and GOP presidential primary candidate, who is neither an expert nor even a novice (more…)
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Posted in CITIES, LAM MAGAZINE, NEW YORK CITY, NOW, tagged Adam Lubinsky, affordable housing, community, community garden, Community Voices Heard, Deborah Marton, Department of City Planning, East Harlem, East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, Gale Brewer, gentrification, grassroots, Hester Street Collaborative, low-income, Manhattan, Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City Council, New York Restoration Project, rezoning, Sondra Youdelman, Timothy A. Schuler, WXY Architecture + Urban Design on June 7, 2016|
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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER
A broad coalition of community organizations and officials takes a preemptive stand against gentrification.
Data can be deceiving, or at the very least hard to parse. But for the residents of East Harlem, the numbers spoke loudly. On average, the community was losing nearly 300 affordable housing units per year, based on eight years of data collected by WXY Architecture + Urban Design. If real estate development continued at the current rate, more than 4,000 affordable housing units would be lost over the next 15 years. “People began to realize that a ‘do-nothing’ option was not going to result in the same old thing,” says Adam Lubinsky, a planner and managing principal at WXY. “A ‘do-nothing’ option would mean 300 homes lost per year to development.”
East Harlem, a largely Latino community where one in three residents lives below the poverty line, was also named as one of eight neighborhoods out of 15 that have been identified for rezoning by the city. Rather than wait to respond to a zoning proposal by the city’s Department of City Planning (DCP), local organizations began working vigorously with elected officials to develop recommendations for how to use zoning to preserve affordable housing stock, open space, and the community’s cultural heritage. The result was the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, and according to people involved, it marked the first time a community in New York has developed such a plan ahead of a DCP proposal.
“I’ve rarely seen such a broad-based and grassroots approach to plan and comment on zoning,” says Deborah Marton, the executive director of the New York Restoration Project, an open-space conservancy that participated in the process and also manages nine community gardens in East Harlem. “It was a sincere and messy effort that eventually resulted in (more…)
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