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Geography of Opportunity

Anthony Vanky
To what extent do variations in definitions of rent burden and vacancy result in different geographies, yielding potential sites for greatly needed affordable housing? The laws of supply and demand project that areas of high housing demand would have few unused spaces. Yet, across New York City and beyond, areas of both high rates of vacancy and rent burden currently exist. Our project attempts to exploit the co-location of rent burden neighborhoods with vacancy rates through discussions of how varying definitions and methodologies lend themselves to important policy decisions. In the process, we are interested in defining new geographies which capture the paradoxical spatial relationship and present opportunities for potential affordable housing sites. Definitions hold great power over the extent of the population benefitting from a socioeconomic policy. We are interested in understanding varying definitions of vacancy and rent burden. Through different mapping approaches, we will evaluate the phenomenon of vacancy and rent burden clusters and how variations in definitions and spatial analysis impact the outcome.