Density And The 'Downzoning Uprising'

Density means vitality and energy for a city...as long as it is not too close to home.

"In what some housing experts are calling "the downzoning uprising," communities throughout the city want to see an end to an influx of apartments, additional people, and what they consider McMansions - and to preserve neighborhoods of limestone town houses, 1950's ranch houses, even humble wood-frame houses wrapped in aluminum siding...

The downzoning issue also underscores the ambivalence of many New Yorkers toward density. New Yorkers celebrate the city's vitality, changeability and allure, and many recognize density as somehow crucial to New York's energy and life. Yet they balk at the prospect of too much density and change close to home - their homes."

Thanks to Anne Hersch

Full Story: In a Still-Growing City, Some Neighborhoods Say Slow Down

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Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

Density And The 'Downzoning Uprising'

So how to combat against this anti-density movement? The prospective residents have no voice - only that of the developer who tries to accommodate their housing needs. The current residents have the political clout - esp. during election season!!!

Irvin Dawid

Is higher density always the answer?

The Brookings Institution's "Who Sprawls Most" study showed that cities with the densest centers tend to have the most sprawl. When an increase in density causes a net loss of larger and better-off households, they may well move to lower-density, higher car use neighborhoods. Adding townhouses usually doesn't do this, but taking a mix of houses and small apartment buildings and adding more apartments often causes a net move to the suburbs. The demographic change due to densification is relatively simple to calculate. I doubt neighbors have the bigger picture in mind, but their revolt may inadvertently be doing the environment a favor.

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