Bringing Harlem Back

<p>New York City officials hope that a recently approved rezoning for Harlem will revive the neighborhood.</p>
March 17, 2008, 11am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Michael Bloomberg, New York's mayor, hopes to change this with the most sweeping rezoning of 125th Street since Kennedy was president. After working on the proposal for four years, the city's planning commission voted on March 10th to rezone some 24 blocks in and around 125th Street. The rezoning will allow at least one high-rise and more than 2,000 apartments as well as hotels, nightclubs and galleries. For the first time, it will set height limits and establish a plan for future development. It is hoped that the plan will create a cultural renaissance in Harlem as well as 8,000 badly needed jobs."

"Not everyone is happy. Some 70 small businesses could be forced to close and some historic buildings could be demolished. Critics fear long-term residents will be priced out of their homes. Gentrification over the past decade has certainly contributed to the increased cost of housing in Harlem. Others fear the neighbourhood's character will be irreparably changed because of luxury housing. The city's planning commission thinks the fears are unfounded, as 90% of the housing is rent-protected."

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Published on Thursday, March 13, 2008 in The Economist
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