Sunday, September 17, 2006

Instant gentrification at AY? The numbers are stark

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Atlantic Yards plan states:
Similarities between the proposed project housing mix and the housing mix currently present in the ¾-mile study area indicate that the socioeconomic profile of new households and existing households would be comparable.

I've already shown why that's not credible, as 84% of the 6860 proposed units would go to households that earn more than the neighborhood's median income. Now the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods has prepared a handy chart, as part of a slideshow about the project's environmental impacts. The chart compares the household income distribution in the AY plan with that in the 3/4-mile area around it, and the contrasts are striking.

Hakeem Jeffries, who won the Democratic primary on Tuesday for the 57th District Assembly seat--and that's tantamount to election--made affordable housing one of his issues. A Courier-Life article headlined Jeffries Heading to Albany, quoted him:
“We have an affordable housing crisis that is suffocating the neighborhoods of central Brooklyn and in communities across the district – Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights and parts of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant.
“New York State has to get back into the affordable housing business and if we don’t our neighborhoods run the risk of becoming the bastions of the wealthy and well off, and working families and senior citizens on fixed incomes and the middle class will have no place to go,” he added.


The questions raised by the Atlantic Yards project include:
--to what extent does the provision of affordable housing justify a project that would be much larger than zoning would ordinarily permit and would have significant unmitigatible environmental impacts?
--does the provision of some affordable housing stem the tide of gentrification, or does the project as a whole have ripple effects that further that process?
--how much does that affordable housing cost the public?

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