The Enemy's Gate is Down, Optimism is Warranted
The state of NYC housing abundance politics // cohort 4 ends // cohort 5 apps are open // partnership with The Neighborhood NYC // and more!
A lot has happened since I last sent out the Maximum New York newsletter, and even more will keep happening by all indications. It’s an exciting time to be in New York politics if you’re driven to build a better present and future.
Maximum New York has partnered with The Neighborhood NYC. Civics and government are done well (and effectively!) when they’re done with your very own hands, with a dedicated community, and with the buddies and pals.
The pals and I have punched the big red button on civic engagement, and are having a wonderful and productive time changing our corner of the city for the better. Much more to come soon on this front.
Cohort 4 of The Foundations of New York has its final class this evening, and everyone who passes the final exam will be celebrated sometime in January.
Applications for Cohort 5 of The Foundations of New York are now open! It will run from January 18 through March 1, with March 8 being a potential make-up day if we need it.
About a month ago I wrote A Portrait of NYC Civic Capacity: the Central Park Conservancy. If you don’t know, Central Park is run by a private entity that also primarily funds it. In a feat of extraordinary civic capacity, it restored the park from its death spiral in the 70’s. I have a series of before-and-after photos in this thread.
The State of New York City’s Housing Politics
The state of housing politics in NYC is far better than most people would expect. I wrote two pieces that make the case for housing optimism, while still acknowledging the opportunity that we all have to move the needle. (And if you don’t know how to move the needle, that is one of many reasons why I teach this class.)
The Enemy's Gate is Down: the State of NYC Housing Abundance; key actors in our political system are now decisively in favor of housing abundance, and acknowledge that our way out of the crisis is supply. They recognize that bold action is needed, and they call for it without hedging. Concrete policy changes are underway, with more to come.
Excelsior! Cry Havoc and Let Slip Housing Abundance; in this piece I pull a bunch of quotes from two recent speeches (and one report) made by New York State Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams. I recommend scanning the quotes, and reading the speeches if you have the time. This is a follow-on piece to the one listed above.
Although these quotes appear in both of the posts above, I’ll finish this newsletter with some recent statements by Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams (both pulled from rush transcripts provided by their press offices, so there are likely small transcription errors):
We have more people than homes. This shortage gives landlords the power to charge any price they want and leaves too many New Yorkers with no place to go. That needs to change. And history is on our side. We used to build things; we can do it again. We built the Empire State Building in just over one year at the lowest point of the Great Depression. 100 years ago, we built 750,000 new homes, more than three times the number of homes built over the past 10 years. Think about that for a minute. —Eric Adams, NYC Mayor, December 8, 2022
But we know that building faster only works if we can build everywhere, so we need to start saying, “Yes in my backyard, yes on my block, yes in my neighborhood.” No more locking communities out of prosperity because neighbors are afraid of change. —Eric Adams, NYC Mayor, December 8, 2022
Picture those three areas [New York, San Francisco, and San Jose], building the way the rest of the country was during this timeframe. The GDP for the entire nation would’ve gone up 14 percent. Wow. Just imagine if we did half of that, if we did half of what we were supposed to do during that time frame. —New York Governor Kathy Hochul, December 1, 2022
And so it is imperative with our call of a full government approach to have this moonshot moment of 500,000 homes. It is low, middle and market rate. And the goal is not to displace, and I think reports are starting to show that development does not have to be displacement. It’s not about removing long term residents from their communities, but allowing them to be part of the development of their communities. —Eric Adams, NYC Mayor, December 8, 2022
If we want to remain that city, the economic engine of America and the most diverse community on the globe, we must get stuff built, not for the few, but for the many. Brick by brick, block by block, this new city will rise again together. —Eric Adams, NYC Mayor, December 8, 2022
I can be a dreamer too, but I’m a doer. We have a chance to do something extraordinary here. I will meet this with the fortitude and the zeal that’s going to be required because we’ve never had a statewide strategy on housing before. But under my administration, that will change in January. We will act boldly. Not next year, not the next day. There’s no kicking this can down the road. I’m picking that can up right now. I’m saying, “We’re going to fix this.” —New York Governor Kathy Hochul, December 1, 2022
As the governor said last week, there’s no kicking this can down the road. We’ve tinkered around the edges enough. We have failed too many people for too long. It’s time to build the next generation of affordable housing in New York City. Experts have proposed different numbers, but everyone agrees, to address the affordability crisis, we must double the rate at which housing is built in the city. It’s a major task, a major ask. But I did not become mayor to climb a hill, I became mayor to climb a mountain, and I want every one of you to climb it with me. —Eric Adams, NYC Mayor, December 8, 2022
Today, I am issuing a call to our partners in the City Council, and our colleagues in Albany and in D.C., to the development community, nonprofits, faith leaders, and neighborhood advocates. Let us work together to meet the need for 500,000 new homes over the next decade. This is our mission, our moonshot, a bold effort that must fire ambition and inspire teamwork, because teamwork is the only way we get this done. We need everyone doing their part to reform outdated laws, expand incentives, increase coordinations, and build, build, build. And we must start now. —Eric Adams, NYC Mayor, December 8, 2022