How Will Pricey Cities House Their Artists?

With rents on the rise even in "inexpensive" cities like New Orleans, artists and musicians are getting priced out. Affordable housing designated for artists is one way to help them stay.

1 minute read

February 10, 2017, 9:00 AM PST

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

New Orleans Musicians

Philip Cohen / Flickr

It's a story we hear a lot. Artists gave a place its cultural cachet, but they're getting priced out as gentrification sets in. Teresa Wiltz writes, "New Orleans, like much of the rest of the country, also has an affordable housing crisis — costs here have jumped 50 percent since 2000. As a result, many of the musicians tourists flock to see are forced to do the 'double-ZIP code thing': live outside the city and parachute in for gigs."

Last year, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced a five-year housing plan to build or preserve 7,500 affordable units. That includes housing designated specifically for "service workers, artists and culture bearers."

Other cities are exploring similar options. "In New York City, Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans in 2015 to provide 1,500 affordable housing units for artists and musicians by 2025." Dallas and Plano also have plans for arts districts with affordable living spaces. 

"And this week, California is launching a pilot program to identify 10 to 15 communities that could be designated as cultural districts with housing and workspace for artists." Saddled with infrastructure costs and uncertain federal funding, cities are turning to philanthropy, tax credits, and elsewhere for the funds.

Sunday, February 5, 2017 in PBS NewsHour

View of Mount Hood at golden hour with Happy Valley, Oregon homes in foreground.

Clackamas County Votes to Allow ADUs, Residential RVs

County officials hope the zoning changes will help boost the housing supply in the region.

June 18, 2024 - Mountain Times

Single-family homes in a suburban neighborhood in Florida.

New Florida Law Curbs HOA Power

The legislation seeks to cut down on ‘absurd’ citations for low-level violations.

June 16, 2024 - The Guardian

Aerial view of intersection in New York City with yellow cabs and zebra crosswalks.

Planners’ Complicity in Excessive Traffic Deaths

Professor Wes Marshall’s provocatively-titled new book, "Killed by a Traffic Engineer," has stimulated fierce debates. Are his criticisms justified? Let’s examine the degree that traffic engineers contribute to avoidable traffic deaths.

June 13, 2024 - Todd Litman

View of Palos Verdes Drive along Pacific Ocean in Palos Verdes, California at sunset.

Erosion Threatens SoCal Road, Lloyd Wright Icon

The city of Palos Verdes is closing parts of a roadway to cyclists, citing safety concerns as the land underneath moves between 7 and 12 inches per week.

3 hours ago - Daily Breeze

Faded image of vacant storefront in rural area with American flag stars painteind on windows.

COVID Isn’t to Blame for the Retail Vacancy Crisis

A drop in demand for retail space began well before the seismic shifts of the pandemic.

5 hours ago - Slate

Heavy New York City traffic headed toward Holland Tunnel in Manhattan.

Judge Rules in Favor of MTA in Congestion Pricing Suit

Advocates of the program are calling on Gov. Hochul to reinstate the program in light of the decision.

June 23 - StreetsBlog NYC

City Planner I

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner II

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner Supervisor

Department of Housing and Community Development

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

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.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.