How New York City's Appearance Changed Under de Blasio

The former mayor's administration oversaw several major changes in the city's skyline, streets, and public spaces.

1 minute read

January 4, 2022, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


14th Street Busway New York City

Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit / Flickr

An article by Rachel Holliday Smith describes the changes that have happened to New York City's built environment and skyline during former Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration, which include rezoning, bus lanes, and more supertall buildings.

Some of the changes that impacted the city the most, writes Holliday Smith, are the adoption of outdoor dining and living spaces during the pandemic, programs which the city wants to make permanent. The city also invested heavily in the renovation of city parks in underserved communities and expanded bus and bike lanes.

The article also points to the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project which, while controversial, aims to protect a densely populated neighborhood from flooding and rising sea levels. Another major change: the city's shift of a third of its public housing units to private management using the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration program, which is designed to help cities improve conditions in affordable housing units. Meanwhile, the NYCHA hopes to receive at least $35 billion in assistance funds from the Build Back Better plan in order to meet its $40 billion backlog. 

In the past eight years, nine neighborhoods have been rezoned to allow for more density, but critics point out that early efforts focused primarily on low-income neighborhoods, while the results of these rezoning efforts will take years to manifest.

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