A columnist takes the recent scandal involving disgraced former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as a particularly heinous example of how far astray affordable housing policy is from its intended goal.
"Sheldon Silver, the New York State Assembly's speaker for the past 21 years, was indicted last month for taking millions in kickbacks from the real-estate lobby, among other special interests," reports Randal John Meyer.
"According to the federal complaint against Silver, he is accused of taking approximately $4 million in kickbacks, most of it from real-estate interests, in exchange for granting favors via the assembly's role in two development programs -- 421-a and 80/20. 421-a provides substantial tax exemptions for developers that create new residential buildings and reserve 20 percent of the units for affordable housing, or that, in lieu of creating affordable housing on-site, create it elsewhere or buy "certificates" from other developers that do."
The main thrust of Meyer's article argues, however, that New York's ostensibly progressive plans to support those living in poverty, have had the opposite effect in recent times.
"Between 2004 and 2014, the number of properties given 421-a tax breaks tripled, and the gentrification debate in New York drew national attention. While gentrification is an expected process in city growth, in this case government intervention caused prices in the market to rise beyond what they should have been -- and quickly. The programs greatly reduced the cost of generating newer housing, with more amenities, at increased rents, in the most desirable areas of the city."
Amtrak Ramping Up Infrastructure Projects
Thanks to federal funding from the 2021 infrastructure act, the agency plans to triple its investment in infrastructure improvements and new routes in the next two years.
The Unceremonious Death of a Freeway Expansion Project
The end of an Oregon freeway project didn't get much fanfare, but the victory is worth celebrating.
Ending Downtown San Francisco’s ‘Doom Loop’
A new public space project offers an ambitious vision—so why is the city implementing it at such a small scale?
Kaua’i County Uses Long-Range Models to Mandate Resiliency Standards
The county requires builders to assess potential flood risks using models that account for sea level rise projected as far out as 2100.
California Governor Vetoes Autonomous Truck Ban
Gov. Newsom called the new law unnecessary, citing existing efforts by state regulators to develop new rules around autonomous trucking.
Low-Barrier Motel Shelter Is a Success—But Not an Easy One
Many guests at Motels4Now are on their second or third stays—but staff say that's doesn't equal failure, and the numbers bear that out.
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Mpact: Mobility, Community, Possibility
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
City of San Carlos
National Capital Planning Commission
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.