How Can Historic Preservation Be More Inclusive? Learning From New York City’s Historic Districts
Historic preservation policies uphold the cultural heritage of a city while also impacting the social and economic landscape of the neighborhoods preserved. This chapter describes findings from analyses that compare New York City neighborhoods which received historic designations with comparable ones that did not. To broaden the agenda of the preservation community, the authors describe effects seen in work done by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission ever since it was created in 1965. They advocate for a closer look at the impact historic preservation has on equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Fifty Years of Historic Preservation in New York City
This white paper offers a detailed overview of the process of designation and the spread of historic districts and landmarks throughout New York City. In addition, it provides additional analyses comparing the land uses, building types, commercial uses, and population in historic districts with those attributes of nearby neighborhoods and lots. A summary of the white paper's findings is available in the accompanying policy brief of the same name.
Policy Brief: Fifty Years of Historic Preservation in New York City
This policy brief compares the development characteristics, housing stock, demographic characteristics, and commercial characteristics between historic districts and areas that are not regulated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). It finds that New York City’s historic districts have similar population and built density to non-LPC regulated areas, but also contains a higher proportion of market-rate housing. Residents of the city’s historic districts are also higher-income, more highly educated, and more likely to be white.
Preserving History or Hindering Growth? The Heterogeneous Effects of Historic Districts on Local Housing Markets in New York City
Historic district designation has long been a topic of considerable debate. This report, conducted in collaboration with the National Bureau of Economic Research, provides new evidence to inform one aspect of this discussion—the effect that historic district designation has on housing. The report considers how designation of historic districts in New York City affects property values both within district boundaries and in the buffer areas just outside district boundaries, and explores how these effects vary across neighborhoods. Read the full report, the research brief, or view the press release.
Does City-Subsidized Owner-Occupied Housing Improve School Quality? Evidence from New York City
Policymakers have long promoted homeownership as a mechanism for community change. While previous studies have shown a positive association between homeownership and education at the individual level, ours is the first to systematically report on the effect of subsidized, owner-occupied housing on local schools. This New York City-focused analysis suggests that investments in subsidized, owner-occupied housing are associated with an increase in standardized reading and math scores at local schools, whereas similar investments in rental housing are not associated with any improvement in school quality. Subsidized, owner-occupied housing has also changed the demographic characteristics of local schools in New York City, increasing the percentage of white students and decreasing the percentage eligible for free lunch.
Public Schools, Public Housing: The Education of Children Living in Public Housing
In the United States, public housing developments are predominantly located in neighborhoods with low median incomes, high rates of poverty and disproportionate concentrations of minorities. While research consistently shows that public housing developments are located in economically and socially disadvantaged neighborhoods, we know little about the characteristics of the schools serving students living in public housing. In this paper, we examine the characteristics of elementary and middle schools attended by students living in public housing developments in New York City. Using the proportion of public housing students attending each elementary and middle school as our weight, we calculate the weighted average of school characteristics to describe the typical school attended by students living in public housing. We then compare these characteristics to those of the typical school attended by other students throughout the city in an effort to assess whether students living in public housing attend systematically different schools than other students. We find no large differences between the resources of the schools attended by students living in public housing and the schools attended by their peers living elsewhere in the city; however we find significant differences in student characteristics and performance on standardized exams. These school differences, however, fail to fully explain the performance disparities amongst students. Our results point to a need for more nuanced analyses of the policies and practices in schools, as well as the outside-of-school factors that shape educational success, to identify and address the needs of students in public housing.
Can Homeownership Transform Communities? Evidence on the Impact of Subsidized, Owner-Occupied Housing Investments on the Quality of Local Schools
While recent evidence demonstrates that subsidized investments in owneroccupied housing can lead to increases in property values (Schwartz et al. 2006), the impact of such housing on other community amenities is largely unexamined. Yet, the response of local services to public investments is crucial for policy-makers and community development practitioners who view increasing subsidized homeownership as a mechanism to improve urban neighborhoods. Drawing on evidence from New York City, we examine the impact of subsidized housing on the quality of local schools by studying exogenous variation in city investments in owner and rental units. Specifically, we explore whether – and in what ways – publicly financed investments in owner- or renter-occupied housing made in the late 1980s and 1990s by the City of New York affected the characteristics and performance of local public schools. Our results suggest that the completion of subsidized, owner-occupied housing is associated with a decrease in schools’ percentage of free lunch eligible students, an increase in schools’ percentage of white students, and controlling for these compositional changes, a positive change in pass rates on standardized reading and math exams.
Public Housing and Public Schools: How Do Students Living in NYC Public Housing Fare in School?
This report examines the school performance of children living in NYCHA housing and finds that children living in NYCHA housing perform less well on standardized math and reading tests than other students, even after controlling for the characteristics of the individual students and the schools they attend.