Excavating the Future of Affordable Housing
Matthew Lasner Associate Professor, Hunter College, Department of Urban Policy and Planning
Under the current mayor, New York City has set ambitious benchmarks for construction and preservation of affordable housing. Nevertheless, the housing crisis has grown worse. Because of gentrification and rising inequality? Yes. But also because higher levels of government, which have far more power than cities in housing, have relinquished responsibility. Yet in earlier eras, New York housing leaders were able to overcome comparable circumstances. Can they do so today? This investigation into the politics of affordable housing over a century of dramatic change — from the first conversations about state intervention through the postwar heyday of public housing and Mitchell-Lama through the professionalized affordable housing industry of today — suggests yes.
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