Publications

  • Supply Skepticism:  Housing Supply and Affordability

    Growing numbers of affordable housing advocates and community members are questioning the premise that increasing the supply of market-rate housing will result in housing that is more affordable. This article is meant to bridge the divide, addressing each of the key arguments supply skeptics make and reviewing what research has shown about housing supply and its effect on affordability. It ultimately concludes, from both theory and empirical evidence, that adding new homes moderates price increases and therefore makes housing more affordable to low- and moderate-income families. It also emphasizes that new market-rate housing is necessary but not sufficient, and that government intervention is critical to ensure that supply is added at prices affordable to a range of incomes.

  • Neighbors and networks: The role of social interactions on the residential choices of housing choice voucher holders

    This study considers the role of information and social influence in determining the effective set of potential housing choices for participants in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. It finds that pairs of voucher participants in close proximity are 40% more likely to move to the same neighborhood than pairs that live more than 1,000 feet apart, and that the neighborhoods selected by close proximity pairs are likely to be more economically disadvantaged by several measures. These findings were magnified in tight rental markets, and in highly segregated cities.

  • Housing and Educational Opportunity: Characteristics of Local Schools Near Families with Federal Housing Assistance

    This report focuses on access to neighborhood elementary schools, highlighting disparities between families living in subsidized housing and those who do not. It describes the characteristics of the local public elementary schools to which children living in subsidized housing have access, including their student demographics, teacher characteristics and relative proficiency rates. The report shows that that families receiving all four major types of federal housing assistance lived near lower performing and higher poverty schools than other poor families with children as well as other renters with children.

  • City NIMBYs

    This article published in the Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law explores the growing trend of opposition to development in cities. It describes the academic discussions to date focused on growing opposition to development in cities, reviews the known impact of opposition and regulatory barriers to development, explores the potential impact of creating additional barriers to development, and proposes factors that may explain the growing opposition to development in cities. In conclusion, the report discusses what the underlying causes of opposition to development reveal about the differences between suburban and city-focused Nimbyism, and suggests research and policy analysis that might help land-use decision makers respond more effectively to opposition to development in cities.

  • Making Dirty Land Clean: An Analysis of New York City’s Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP)

    A new policy brief by the NYU Furman Center examines how New York City’s Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) is being used to redevelop hundreds of brownfield sites in the city. The VCP is the city’s primary brownfield remediation program, providing oversight and support for developers to clean up properties with actual or potential contamination. The policy brief released today, Making Dirty Land Clean: An Analysis of New York City’s Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP), sheds light on this city program to incentivize remediation and redevelopment of contaminated sites.

  • What Do We Know About Housing Choice Vouchers?

    The Housing Choice Voucher Program provides assistance to approximately 2.2 million households each year, making it the largest low-income housing subsidy program managed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This paper reviews what we know about the program. In brief, experimental research shows that vouchers help to reduce the rent burdens of low-income households, allow them to live in less crowded homes, and minimize the risk of homelessness. Research also shows, however, that the program has been far less successful in getting recipients to better neighborhoods and schools. And perhaps the greatest disappointment of the program is its limited reach. Families typically wait for years to receive a voucher, and only one in four households eligible for a voucher nationally receives any federal rental housing assistance. Another issue is that a significant share of households who receive vouchers never use them, in part because of the difficulty of finding willing landlords with acceptable units. Thus, as effective as the program is, there is still room for improvement.

  • State of New York City’s Subsidized Housing in 2017

    This brief reviews major programs used to develop and preserve affordable housing in the city, and provides the number and location of properties benefitting from a subsidy or incentive in 2017. It also discusses when affordability restrictions on some of those properties will expire unless renewed by the owners and the housing agencies.

    • Date: June 2018
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  • A Pilot Community Health Worker Program in Subsidized Housing: The Health + Housing Project

    We examine the implementation of a community health worker (CHW) program in subsidized housing, describe needs identified and priorities set by residents, and summarize participant-reported outcomes.

  • Valuing Urban Land: Comparing the use of Teardown and Vacant Land Sales

    This study explores the use of “teardown” sales to estimate the value of urban land. When a buyer purchases a property intending to tear down the existing structure and rebuild, the value of land can potentially be estimated as the purchase price plus demolition costs. There has been little exploration of teardown sales in cities around the country, or any explicit comparisons between the estimates of land values derived from teardown sales and those derived through vacant land sales. This paper undertakes just such an explicit comparison, analyzing approximately 3800 teardown sales and 4900 vacant land sales occurring in New York City between 2003 and 2009. The two approaches yield surprisingly similar estimates of the value of both parcel attributes and locational amenities. However, vacant parcels are disproportionately located in very distressed neighborhoods and tend to be valued less highly than teardown parcels, even in the same neighborhood. Teardown parcels appear to be more representative of the city as a whole and may be a more useful approach to developing estimates of land prices, at least in the central cities of large urban areas where sample sizes are large enough.

  • Race and the City

    This paper provides the introduction to the special issue on Race and the City in the Journal of Housing Economics in 2018. The paper surveys relevant topics on racial and ethnic discrimination and residential segregation, and provides a more detailed discussion of the specific papers in the special issue. The paper primarily focuses on the literatures on discrimination in housing, on-line markets and policing. In terms of racial segregation, the paper discusses work related to the pattern of residential segregation and the causes and consequences of segregation