Some housing experts say the rezoning plan is not nearly ambitious enough to make a dent in the city’s housing crisis.

2 minute read

October 9, 2023, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


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An article by Kriston Capps and Sarah Holder in Bloomberg CityLab outlines the potential benefits and pitfalls of New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ ‘City of Yes’ zoning reform proposal, an ambitious package that aims to create 100,000 new units of housing in the next 15 years.

The package includes eliminating parking requirements, promoting transit-oriented development, legalizing shared housing and accessory dwelling units (ADUs), and encouraging more affordable units, all aimed at making housing more available and affordable. “But all of these outcomes depend on the city building enough housing to truly make a difference — and experts question whether Adams’s plan is ambitious enough to meet that threshold,” the authors write.

Some experts say the scale of the zoning changes, like permitting three-to-five story apartment buildings near transit stops in the outer boroughs, may not be enough to make a difference in housing costs and could counterintuitively lead to displacement of older residents. “Yonah Freemark, senior research associate for the Urban Institute, said the plan excited him, but warned against relying on zoning changes exclusively to lead to dramatic new housing gains over the short term. His own research finds mixed success on upzoning when it comes to housing production or socioeconomic integration.”

The authors compare the mayor’s housing proposal with that of New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who was unable to get the plan approved during budget negotiations earlier this year. “Many things have to go right for accessory dwelling units, transit-oriented development and other policies to become a reality for more New Yorkers. Whether the Adams administration can build in places where others have failed remains to be seen.”

Tuesday, October 3, 2023 in Bloomberg CityLab

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