Maintaining Diversity and Stimulating Growth in the Face of Gentrification

How can NYC neighborhoods remain diverse in the face of gentrification? What financial and policy-related tools can local, state, and federal governments deploy to better prepare neighborhoods for change? How should the city partner with relevant stakeholders?

At the Furman Center’s Policy Breakfast on 10.20.15, an introduction by Ingrid Gould Ellen, Faculty Director, at the NYU Furman Center, set the tone for a comprehensive and productive panel discussion. Gould Ellen presented data on NYC’s changing demographics over the past decade or so, comparing citywide trends to those seen in particular neighborhoods, mostly Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. The makeup of Bed-Stuy’s population has experienced unprecedented shifts in race, level of education, and income.

In their various roles, panelists Carolee Fink, Chief Development Officer, NYC Economic Development Corporation; Rachel Godsil, Eleanor Bontecou Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law and Chair, NYC Rent Guidelines Board; Colvin Grannum, President and CEO, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation; and Daniel Hernandez, Deputy Commissioner for Neighborhood Strategies, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, facilitate quality development. The city and its private partners must find ways to bring necessary services to neighborhoods in need that stimulate communities economically and socially, while allowing longtime residents to thrive.

Through ongoing community engagement efforts and innovative policy and financing approaches, the panelists believe that a balance can be reached.

Pulse Points

  • The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a major transportation bill that contains language that could weaken the strongest national historic preservation law. Although transportation funding is a critical priority, the legislation in question would repeal section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act requiring that transportation planners take measures to avoid impacting historic resources. The Senate recently passed a transportation bill that eliminates the section 4(f) requirement, and we cannot let the House be next. Tell your representative to support a bill that balances our infrastructure needs with preserving our historic resources and protecting notable architecture. More information is available through AIA National.
  • The de Blasio Administration released a progress report on the Build it Back program, created after Hurricane Sandy to address housing and business recovery and citywide climate resiliency. Read the report here. For more about Build it Back, AIANY’s testimony at the City Council’s related oversite hearing in September is available here.
  • 2015 marked the tenth convening of FitCity, the annual New York City conference for professionals interested in the built environment and its impact on public health, hosted by AIANY and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The FitCity 10 Report, now available online and in print, highlights the past 10 years of FitCity, provides a synopsis of the 2015 conference, and articulates a vision for the future.