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June 19, 2019

It’s the housing, stupid: Build to accommodate a growing city

May 29, 2018
More please (Michael Schwartz for New York Daily News)

First the very, very good news: New York City is booming like never before — with more residents, more jobs, more people clamoring to be part of it all.

Yes, that’s #deblasiosnewyork five years in, despite doom-and-gloom predictions.

Now the bad news, which is not news at all to most of us: This city is just about out of places to cram in everyone who wants to live and work here, and isn’t building enough housing to keep up with everyone seeking it.

In a new report, NYU’s Furman Center lays out the math plain as can be. A city with 11% more adults in 2016 than in 2000, and with 16.5% more jobs since then, added only 8.2% more places to live, the bulk of them studios and one-bedrooms.

Meanwhile, new maps from the Department of City Planning show suburbs outside the five boroughs slacking, with Nassau County scandalously permitting fewer than 1,000 new homes a year.

Lo and behold, city rents have risen at double the pace of wages.

The more New York City lags on building new housing and the transit to connect it with jobs and the rest, the further supply will fall behind demand — and the more rents will rise, employers will locate elsewhere, or, heaven help us, both.

To his credit, de Blasio speaks up loudly for the need to erect more apartments, brushing off pushback from the not-in-my-backyard crowd. How he put it Friday: “Undoubtedly if you create more supply, it does put downward pressure on rents.”

Tiptoeing to placate an often impossible City Council, de Blasio’s city planners have upzoned a handful of neighborhoods to fertilize significantly more housing development, with Manhattan’s Inwood next up to bat.

The mayor must move aggressively to open up much more room to build, like the future of this great city depends on it — because it really does.

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