Opinion: One Solution to Manhattan's Land Shortage: Just Build It

A New York Times op-ed calls on the city to add landfill development on Manhattan's southern shoreline, claiming it would increase affordability and protect the city from rising sea levels.

January 23, 2022, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

New York City

TierneyMJ / Shutterstock

In an opinion piece in the New York Times, Jason M. Barr argues that physically expanding Manhattan Island into New York Harbor would help solve two urgent crises at once: New York City's rampant housing shortage and the threats posed by rising sea levels to the island.

Barr proposes adding 1,760 acres of landfill development to Manhattan's southern shore, which would create an area larger than the Upper West Side. Barr recommends a similar density to that neighborhood, which could mean up to 180,000 new housing units.

With demand for housing growing faster than supply, New Mannahatta, as Barr calls the proposed addition to the city, could offer "the possibility to realize the goal of adding a significant number of new units, many of which can be made affordable for low-income households."

Meanwhile, the new land would fortify the city against the effects of climate change and add a buffer that would protect other vulnerable neighborhoods with protective ecologies like wetlands.

On the economic side, Barr believes the construction of the new neighborhood would "pay for itself through sales or long-term land leases," and envisions extended public transportation including ferries that would serve New Mannahatta's residents and visitors. For Barr, this proposal could help ensure the city's continued success by making it safer and more affordable.

Friday, January 14, 2022 in The New York Times

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