new york city - gentrification

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I need to talk about gentrification - a word I don't like, because it is pejorative, but it has stuck.  NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has made affordable housing a central thrust of his administration and is doing some good work providing tax relief for developers who develop affordable housing in their developments

What is 'affordable' is a tricky question, but on the face of it there are genuinely affordable houses within the developments.  He is also trying to increase the number of units that have rent controls, and has just started a programme of building modular housing.

All this won't go against the market - you need to enter a lottery for each level of housing (the lowest one being the most over-subscribed) - and it will mean that general rents continue to rise which people won't be able to afford.

I found two different viewpoints on this - both from native Brooklyn-ites.  One talked about it as a cancer that was now unstoppable, and that he'd soon have to leave his Brooklyn flat, and his community.  He talked about transient people living 5 to a 2-bed flat and not joining the community (a difference I see to London where people I feel do want to stay more long-term).  He admitted it was far safer now (he was shot in the stomach aged 14).

The other viewpoint was that you need to go with the entrepreneurial energy, it's New York and you need to assert yourself, Naz has opened a chicken and waffle restaurant (that I went to and it was awesome), and that this beats the racial polarisation and violence of the 70s to 90s.

Something I saw in the eyes of NYC in people aged 50+, the memory of the hard years, when the city was broke.  It seems universal that they continue to push on because they know that they don't want to go back to that.

(The image above is from Brooklyn looking across to Manhattan where new apartments have been built).

Posted on 18th March 2018 from New York City

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Tim WilliamsCities, People