Alternate Visions: Bold Proposals to Solve the New York Housing Crisis

Bold Proposals to Solve the New York Housing Crisis -Tuan-Nguyen.jpg

MNN and the Museum of the City New York have partnered to broadcast Alternate Visions: Bold Proposals to Solve New York Housing Crisis, as part of their larger initiative “Housing Tomorrow’s City." This program looks at potential solutions to New York City's housing crisis. While rapid development has occurred in the affordable housing sector, many New Yorkers are being priced out of the city, causing some residents to question whether or not existing affordable housing plans are effective enough. During the event, four speakers will propose four distinct proposals that reframe the City’s current approach to housing. 



This episode premiered on Wednesday, December 19 at 8:00pm on MNN 1 and 5.

Last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio spent over $1.1 billion on affordable housing, which created or preserved over 24,500 housing units. But unfavorable markets, the new Republican tax code, the growing cost of land, and increasing construction costs have all caused the cost of the Mayor's initiative to balloon. With the city’s stock of low-rent apartments diminishing faster than the Mayor can replace them, NYC community leaders have come together to propose bold new ideas to solve the New York housing crisis.

This episode will delve into:

Proposals to Solve the New York Housing Crisis

Kriston Capps, a staff writer for CityLab, will moderate the discussion between four of New York City’s housing experts. Each will present their proposals to make housing in New York City more affordable:

  • Rosanne Haggerty, President, and CEO of Community Solutions
  • Howard Husock, VP for Research and Publications at the Manhattan Institute
  • Deyanira Del Río, Co-director of the New Economy Project
  • Monique “Mo” George, Executive Director of Picture the Homeless

In order to solve this crisis, our presenters believe that we should:


Treat the Housing Crisis as a Complex Systems Problem

There is a general acceptance that our housing crisis is about the amount of housing available and its’ cost, but what if those are only some of the symptoms? Rosanne Haggerty, an American housing and community development leader, has spent the last 28 years developing innovative strategies to end homelessness and strengthen communities.

She argues that to tackle our housing crisis, we need to view it as a complex systems problem, rather than an issue isolated to the NYC Housing Authority. This would involve cooperation between the government, local nonprofits, local communities, and those families who are experiencing homelessness to provide the necessary resources to people in need and end chronic homelessness.

Restore Streets and Commercial Buildings in Housing Projects

Back in the mid 20th century, a Swiss architect and urban planner envisioned affordable towers in the park architecture for the urban working class. His utopic vision, implemented by Robert Moses, has since become a place of isolation and decay.

Howard Husock believes that rebuilding streets and commercial buildings within housing projects will improve the quality of life within their premises, link the projects back to their surrounding neighborhoods, and bring revenue back to the NYC Housing Authority.

Give Land Back to the People Through Community Land Trusts

Neighborhoods occupied by people of color in New York City are susceptible to redlining, disinvestment, and subprime mortgages. Without ownership, residents are left at the mercy of developers who may gentrify the neighborhood or displace residents.

Deyanira Del Río wants to give the land back to New Yorkers through Community Land Trusts so that they can have more control over their communities. They would be able to control what gets built, place affordability restrictions on housing, and create plans to purchase their homes.

Mitchell Lama + Community Land Trusts = Bold New Ideas for Housing

Our last presenter, Mo George, expands on Deyanira Del Río’s concept of utilizing Community Land Trusts to create more affordable housing in New York and pairs it with the Mitchell-Lama program3 to make sure “affordable” housing is actually affordable.

The Mitchell Lama program was signed into law in 1955 by New York Senator Macneil Mitchell and Assemblyman Alfred Lama. It provides affordable rental and cooperative housing to moderate to middle-class families and has helped many of these families purchase their homes. This keeps communities from being displaced by gentrification or volatile rent markets.



"De Blasio Bolsters Affordable Housing, but at What Price?The New York Times Web. 18 Dec. 2018

 "NYC’s housing crisis accelerating as low-rent apartment stock declines: reportCurbed New York Web. 18 Dec. 2018

"Affordable Housing: Mitchell-LamaNYC Housing Preservation & Development Web. 18 Dec. 2018

"Past Event: Alternate Visions: Bold Proposals for Housing New YorkersMuseum of the City of New York Web. 18 Dec. 2018