• Has Falling Crime Invited Gentrification?

    Since the early 1990s, central city crime has fallen dramatically in the United States. This study explores the extent to which this trend may have contributed to gentrification. Using confidential census microdata, the authors show that reductions in central city violent crime are associated with increases in the probability that high-income and college-educated households move into central city neighborhoods, including low-income neighborhoods, instead of the suburbs. The authors then use neighborhood-level crime and home purchase data for five major U.S. cities and find that falling neighborhood crime is associated with increasing numbers and shares of high-income movers to low-income central city neighborhoods.

  • Does Gentrification Displace Poor Children? New Evidence from New York City Medicaid Data

    This paper by Ingrid Gould Ellen, Sherry Glied, and Kacie Dragan examines gentrification’s impact on the displacement of low-income families. While many see this relationship as causal, existing quantitative evidence is lacking, partly due to limited data and challenges in measurement. This paper examines the relationship between the frequency and distance of low-income families’ residential moves, as well as the housing and neighborhood conditions in which they live. Using longitudinal New York City Medicaid records, the authors track the movement and compare the outcomes of low-income children from 2009 through 2015, a seven-year period in which the city experienced high levels of gentrification, distinguishing between children who move and those that remain in place.

  • The Challenges of Balancing Rent Stability, Fair Return, and Predictability under New York’s Rent Stabilization System

    This brief lays out some of the challenges of balancing affordability and a reasonable rate of return; explains how New York City’s local governing body (the Rent Guidelines Board) incorporates building operating cost data to make rent adjustments; scans approaches used in other jurisdictions; and explores the potential consequences of eliminating rent increase mechanisms designed to be supportive of investment in repairing and improving the housing stock.

  • How NYCHA Preserves Diversity in New York’s Changing Neighborhoods

    A new fact brief published by the NYU Furman Center outlines the critical role that the public housing plays in preserving racial, ethnic, and economic diversity in the city’s gentrifying and higher-income neighborhoods. The brief builds on previous work by the NYU Furman Center outlining NYCHA’s outsized role in housing the lowest-income New Yorkers. That crucial role in the affordable housing landscape combined with the geographic distribution of public housing developments in gentrifying neighborhoods means that many of the city’s neighborhoods owe their diversity to NYCHA’s public housing developments.

  • Laboratories of Regulation: Understanding the Diversity of Rent Regulation Laws

    Debates about rent regulation are not known for their nuance. The world tends to divide into fierce opponents and strong supporters. Moreover, debates rarely engage with the details of local ordinances, even though those details may significantly affect outcomes for tenants, landlords, and broader housing markets. This paper catalogs the multiplicity of choices that local policymakers must make in enacting and implementing rent regulation ordinances and consider the implications those choices may have for tenant protections and broader market outcomes. This paper then highlights the wide variety of regimes that jurisdictions with rent regulation have adopted in practice. It ends with a call for new empirical research to study the effects of different regulatory features.

  • Localized Commercial Effects from Natural Disasters: The Case of Hurricane Sandy and New York City

    This paper considers the localized economic impacts of an extreme event, Hurricane Sandy, on a dense and diverse economy, New York City. It isolates establishments that are more dependent on local customers--retail establishments--to test whether or not they are more vulnerable to hurricane-induced flooding than other entities with geographically dispersed consumer bases. The paper exploits variation in micro-scale exposure to pre-storm risk and post-storm inundation to identify the impact of storm-induced flooding on establishment survival, employment and sales revenues. Results indicate that the neighborhood economic losses from Sandy were significant, persistent, and concentrated among retail businesses that tend to serve a more localized consumer base.

  • NYCHA’s Outsized Role in Housing New York’s Poorest Households

    Public housing is a critical part of the affordable housing landscape in New York City. The city’s 174,000 public housing units house some 400,000 low-income New Yorkers, or one in every 11 renters in the city. This is far more homes than any other New York City landlord manages and far more than any other public housing authority (PHA) in the United States. 2 The sheer scale of public housing in the city is one reason the stock is critical, but even more importantly, public housing plays a unique role in providing homes for the city’s poorest households. Thus, putting the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) on sound financial and structural footing should be a top priority for federal, state, and local policymakers.

  • Gentrification and Fair Housing: Does Gentrification Further Integration?

    This paper explores the long-term trajectory of predominantly minority, low-income neighborhoods that gentrified over the 1980s and 1990s. On average, these neighborhoods experienced little racial change while they gentrified, but a significant minority became racially integrated during the decade of gentrification, and over the longer term, many of these neighborhoods remained racially stable. That said, some gentrifying neighborhoods that were predominantly minority in 1980 appeared to be on the path to becoming predominantly white. Policies, such as investments in place-based, subsidized housing, are needed in many gentrifying neighborhoods to ensure racial and economic diversity over the longer term.

  • Implementing New York City’s Universal Access to Counsel Program: Lessons for Other Jurisdictions

    This Policy Brief gives a brief summary of the history of advocacy efforts to establish a “right to counsel” in eviction cases, which led up to the city’s UAC legislation. It provides an overview of the Furman Center’s observations of the first year of the program roll-out and suggests how the city’s experience might help other jurisdictions shape the design and implementation of their programs. Recognizing that every jurisdiction differs, and the importance of local context to understanding and learning from another jurisdiction’s experiences, Section II of the paper details the context in which the city’s UAC was designed. Section III then describes how the city has implemented UAC. Finally, Section IV discusses what can be learned from the city’s experience implementing the program, and highlights issues that other
    jurisdictions need to consider in implementing a universal or expanded access to counsel program.

  • 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.