A project of the NYU Furman Center, FloodzoneData.us describes the people and housing located in the U.S. floodplain.
For more resiliency research by the NYU Furman Center, please find additional resources here:
This paper examines how multicriteria analysis (MCA), a decision-making tool, compares to other commonly used tools for making decisions about climate-change planning. The authors find that MCA has the potential to perform better than cost benefit analysis and working group approaches in supporting decision making processes that are more participatory, transparent, comprehensive, rigorous, and scenario-driven (five principles of effective planning). The paper also explores the ways in which MCA might fall short of these principles in practice, including when planners have limited resources.
This paper explores whether and how the rules governing utility billing arrangements of subsidized housing programs impact energy consumption and exacerbate market failures that create incentives for both tenants and owners to be indifferent about their consumption levels. We test whether these incentives or dis-incentives result in higher energy consumption in subsidized properties than in comparable non-subsidized properties. The analysis focuses on three subsidized housing portfolios: Public Housing, Project-based Section 8, and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). Using several multivariate regression models, we find that subsidized properties are associated with higher utility consumption than market-rate properties and, of the subsidized housing programs, Public Housing tends to consume the most energy.
Three years after Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of New York City, the housing stock in many urban coastal areas remains vulnerable to flooding. Much of the housing stock in these high-risk areas is out of compliance with federal flood-resistant design and construction standards. The report illustrates the significant design and financial hurdles of retrofitting multifamily housing common to many urban, coastal areas, describes existing policies and design approaches and their shortfalls, and provides recommendations for state and local practitioners to improve resilience of multi-family housing in their communities.
This paper provides an analysis of the statutes, regulations, and guidance that govern the treatment of utility costs in the four largest federal subsidized housing programs—Public Housing, Project-Based Section 8, Housing Choice Vouchers, and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits—and the incentives these rules create for the consumption of utilities. It finds that many of these programs are structured such that tenants and owners are either indifferent about utility costs or are rewarded for overconsumption. This paper makes several recommendation for how these programs can be restructured to incentivize lower utility consumption, which can reduce the environmental footprint of subsidized housing, improve the financial viability of existing subsidized properties, and free resources that can be repurposed for other HUD goals.
When Superstorm Sandy struck the New York City metropolitan area, it brought to light serious limitations in the ability of federal disaster aid programs to serve the residents of high cost, high-density cities. Our current models of rehousing, repair, and rebuilding are geared towards low-density, owner-occupied, single-family homes. Yet, over half the world’s population lives in dense, urbanized areas, many of which are susceptible not only to hurricanes, but also to earthquakes, tsunamis, and tornadoes.
This report explores the challenges of retrofitting New York City’s existing multifamily rental buildings to be more resilient to future storms. After summarizing our key findings, we provide background about the current regulatory requirements existing building owners who wish to retrofit must navigate. We then discuss the results of a design workshop the Furman Center convened in January 2014 with the help of our partners at the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIANY) and Enterprise Community Partners.
If Superstorm Sandy taught us anything, it's that we need housing that can withstand natural disasters. But resiliency efforts often focus on detached, single-family houses and ignore larger multifamily dwellings. There are a huge number of physical, financial, and political obstacles to storm-proof apartment buildings.
Four months after Superstorm Sandy, New Yorkers continue to pick up the pieces and rebuild. This report summarizes newly available information about the characteristics of properties in the area in New York City flooded by Sandy’s storm surge, as well as demographic characteristics of households that have registered to receive assistance from FEMA. Released in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners, who provided a similar analysis on Long Island and New Jersey, the reports find that low-income renters were disproportionately impacted by Sandy and will require special assistance to fully recover.
This paper proposes a research agenda that addresses the major challenges facing the U.S. housing market: the long-term effects of the housing market crisis on today’s households and on the next generation, increasing poverty coupled with persistently high income inequality and volatility, continued concentration of poor and minority households in low-quality housing and low-opportunity neighborhoods, and the growing need for sustainable and resilient buildings and communities. This analysis is a framing paper for the What Works Collaborative, a foundation-supported research partnership that conducts timely research and analysis to help inform the implementation of an evidence-based housing and urban policy agenda.
Household energy consumption is crucial to national energy policy. This article analyzes how the rules covering utility costs in the four major federal housing assistance programs alter landlord and tenant incentives for energy efficiency investment and conservation. We conclude that, relative to market-rate housing, assistance programs provide less incentive to landlords and tenants for energy efficiency investment and conservation, and utilities are more likely to be included in the rent. Using data from the American Housing Survey, we examine the differences in utility billing arrangements between assisted and unassisted low-income renters and find that—even when controlling for observable building and tenant differences—the rent that assisted tenants pay is more likely to include utilities. Among all tenants who pay utility bills separately from rent, observable differences in energy expenses for assisted and unassisted tenants are driven by unit, building, and household characteristics rather than the receipt of government assistance.
Anticipating that New York City will grow to more than nine million residents by 2030, the City has launched an ambitious planning agenda focused on development in neighborhoods well served by public transit. Between 2002 and 2009, New York City’s government enacted 100 significant changes to its zoning code, constituting the most significant change to the City’s land use regulations since the original version of the current zoning code was adopted in 1961. This chapter explores the cumulative impact of the individual zoning actions on residential capacity, and how the rezonings match the City’s stated development, environmental and transportation goals. The authors found that, consistent with desired development patterns, there has been a modest overall increase in residential capacity concentrated in neighborhoods near rail transit stations.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has decided to include two key goals in all of its programs: encouraging sustainable communities and enhancing access to opportunity for lower-income people and people of color. This paper examines the relationship between these two goals through a literature review and an original empirical analysis of how these goals interact at the neighborhood and metropolitan area levels. We also offer policy recommendations for HUD.