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The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • Small Area Fair Market Rents
  • Volume 21 Number 3
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga

New York City’s Affordable Housing Plans and the Limits of Local Initiative

Alex Schwartz
The New School

New York City invested more than $18.9 billion, after inflation, from its capital budget for the development and preservation of more than 490,000 affordable housing units from 1987 to 2018. This article assesses New York City’s various affordable housing programs during this period in light of the city’s longstanding affordability problems, focusing in particular on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s housing plan and the results of this plan from its inception in 2014 through the first quarter of 2019. This article discusses those results while considering criticisms that the plan does not provide sufficient housing for households with the lowest incomes and that its use of inclusionary zoning may exacerbate housing affordability pressures. The article concludes that, while New York’s programs have produced affordable homes for thousands of residents, the amount of expenditure that would be required to resolve New York’s affordability crisis is far too large for New York to afford without federal support.

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