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CHPC New York

Category listing for Publications

Urban Prospect: Disposition Disputes

While the late 1990s have witnessed the rapid escalation of development pressures throughout Manhattan, sizeable clusters of vacant land lie dormant in the surrounding boroughs. In neighborhoods of Central Brooklyn, the South Bronx, and portions of Southeastern Queens, many of these unused parcels languish in the city’s real estate portfolio.

Widespread tax default and abandonment during the 1960s and 1970s, combined with earlier urban renewal acquisitions, resulted in the accumulation of an extensive public sector portfolio of vacant lands. Starting with the Koch administration’s 10-year plan, the city began to dispose of its vacant properties in a manner that would … Read more…

Urban Prospect: Attaining Home Equity

Owning a home signifies middle class status and the achievement of the American Dream. Through the tax code, banking regulation and direct market intervention, public policies have long been designed to foster homeownership. Unfortunately, the benefits have accrued mostly to white Americans, while numerous obstacles have been thrown in the path of blacks and other minorities. In recent years, however, both public agencies and private financial institutions have attempted to redress racial disparities in homeownership.

Click here (pdf) to read more about racial disparities in homeownership and what agencies are doing to address them as well as a discussion on … Read more…

Urban Prospect: Up Cycle

With New York’s real estate market nearing another cyclical peak there is renewed concern in the press and political circles about the city’s housing crisis. Much discussion of the rediscovered crisis, however, is driven by anecdote based on middle-class experiences in a relatively few neighborhoods.

Fortunately, the Census Bureau has recently made available the raw data from the city’s 1999 Housing and Vacancy Survey (HVS). The complete microdata from the survey’s 16,000 respondent households is now available for downloading by researchers from the Bureau’s website, as are numerous data tabulations for those users not equipped to perform large-scale data analysis … Read more…

Urban Prospect: The Skyline in Context

For the first time in forty years, New York has set in motion a broad-scale initiative to reform its zoning ordinance. The centerpiece – and the dominant topic of discussion in real estate and community board circles alike – is the Unified Bulk Program.

Through the passage of this reform, the city hopes to regain control of its physical destiny. The 1961 zoning reform established a modernistic vision of New York City with hightowers surrounded by park-like open spaces. This vision came to be known as Tower-in-the Park zoning. Soon after its passage, however, planners realized that the sharp contrast … Read more…

Urban Prospect: Empire Sprawl

In the 1998 elections, voters in states and municipalities across the country approved more than 100 propositions intended to apply “smart growth” measures to curb urban sprawl. A sometimes vague rubric used to describe policies aimed at reducing infrastructure costs, preserving open space and mitigating traffic congestion, smart growth has become the major catch word in the urban planning field.

The smart growth movement combines some traditional planning and environmental approaches with a more contemporary blend of land use, mass transit and community development perspectives. It shifts the planning focus from reliance on restrictive regulation to an active promotion of … Read more…

Urban Prospect: How much housing do we need?

There is a general consensus among both experts and the public at large that New York City suffers from a chronic shortage of affordable housing. For policy planning purposes it would be useful to know just how much of a shortage there is. Once the question is addressed directly, however, it quickly becomes apparent that it defies a simple answer and that underlying it are a host of value judgments about how families should live, what policies should be pursued, and how the market will respond to them.

The difficulties associated with defining housing need and anticipating market adjustments are … Read more…