While some New Yorkers may have been lulled by a recent small dip in rental prices, the city’s long term housing market is still grim. A new report published this month by the Regional Plan Association demonstrates just how urgent the situation remains.

The report, which examines census tracts that are at risk of displacement by escalating housing costs, finds that 70% of the census tracts in the Bronx are at risk of displacement as the borough’s dense, walkable neighborhoods become attractive to wealthier residents who themselves are being squeezed out of pricier neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

The other boroughs aren’t far behind. In Brooklyn, 51% of the census tracts were at risk for displacement, while the figures were 31% for Manhattan and Queens, respectively.

While the city touts the creation or preservation of about 20,000 affordable units in 2016, no small feat, it’s worth noting the massive scale of building required to mitigate the city’s affordability crisis. The report estimates that there are 1.4 million households within the tracts at risk; the mayor’s plan to create or preserve, 200,000 units of affordable housing is akin to building a sand castle in the face of a tidal wave. Building 80,000 units and keeping another 120,000 from going market-rate is laudable, but not close to being enough.

The problem will only become more acute if population growth projections come to fruition; the city is expected to grow by a half a million people over the next 20 years.

I will write more about this over the next few weeks and months, but to fully ensure that there are enough affordable homes for all, city planners will need to remake the city; adding more than a million units of affordable housing and the transportation, educational and other ancillary infrastructures to support this development.

With researchers and advocates sounding the alarm bells, the time for bold planning on New York’s future is now, it will be too late tomorrow.

Photo credit to Chris Goldberg on Flikr


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