This week, the New York City Council passed two major components of Mayor Bill de Blasio's housing plan, marking a major step forward in the city’s efforts to address the housing shortage. By requiring more apartments for moderate- and lower-income residents with any rezoning for greater density, the plan is expected to generate thousands of new units of affordable housing. The new policy also encourages the development of more housing for seniors, more attractive building design and livelier commercial streetscapes.
RPA is proud to have supported the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability proposals, and excited that several of our suggestions – including more options for deeper affordability, more support for the placement of the affordable housing on site – were implemented in the final passage. Together, these initiatives are a much-needed step toward easing the affordable housing crisis in New York City, and potentially the region overall.
Now that these policies are law, they can serve as a template for expanding housing choices in the region. While the specifics in other communities and municipalities will vary, there are broader lessons and ideals that can be applied throughout the region: that more attractive building design and greater density aren’t mutually exclusive, that directly addressing the region’s affordability crisis needs to be the primary focus of growth and development, and that we must revisit and adapt zoning regulations to address the realities of region today, and into the future.