Housing Starts: Housing Starts: A New Green Idea for Broadway | MTA Chief Chides Board

December 15th 2015

12 East 88th Street. Credit Tina Fineberg for The New York Times

  1. When the Government Tells Poor People How to Live If residents do as they’re told, they’ll go through a program that includes intensive case management and will get a job, earn some money, and move out of public housing. But if they can’t or don’t find work or enroll in classes, a worst-case scenario could see them kicked out of public housing, often the last thing between the very poor and a homeless shelter. Is this the role government ought to be playing in people’s lives? John Stuart Mill condemned such efforts, writing “The only purpose for which power may be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. [The Atlantic – 12/14/15]
  2. The Borough Giving Brooklyn a Run for its Money Although Queens is a 15-minute cab or Subway ride from midtown Manhattan, in psychogeography terms it’s a world away. This is a city of tribes. When you pay $4,000 a month for a tiny one bedroom apartment in Manhattan, you stay put. But to stay put in New York City is to miss out. It might not all be happening in Queens, but it is happening. It’s not the aggressively industrial wasteland of yuppie high-rise flats that it used to be. [Independent – 12/14/15]
  3. How ‘Broken Windows’ Can Help Stop Traffic Deaths De Blasio deserves credit for his actions. First, [stopping bad drivers] shows that he intuitively practices broken-windows policing. Truck driver Franky Matarrese, after all, didn’t kill anyone. He didn’t even harm anyone. But the mayor felt uncomfortable in this atmosphere of law-breaking. A city where a driver can flout the rules with impunity is a city where people don’t feel safe. Plus, breaking a small law can lead to harm. What if the mayor hadn’t looked? What if a small child had run out? [New York Post – 12/13/15]
  4. In Zoning Amendment, One Size Does Not Fit All Community Boards across the city have voiced their concerns about [affordable housing] plans and we must let them know that we are listening. There are a variety of valid concerns. As the proposals make their way to the City Council in early 2016, the administration needs to factor in community feedback and make appropriate changes to ensure that the voices of residents are not ignored. We must make sure we are not weakening existing zoning laws or the very process that allows residents to fight to protect the character of their neighborhoods. [Gotham Gazette – 12/10/15]
  5. An Upper East Side Condo Wave The skinny strip of the Upper East Side that runs between Central Park and Park Avenue has long been dominated by co-ops and is arguably one of the most staid parts of the city. Now, in a burst of activity not seen since the 1980s, condominiums are shouldering their way into this upscale district, which runs from about East 59th to East 96th Streets. More than a half-dozen projects, ranging from newly built apartment houses to makeovers of prewar properties, have opened there in the last few years or are underway. [NY Times – 12/11/15]
  6. MTA Boss To Staff: Stop Dismissing Proposals For Change The MTA’s head has instructed staffers to quit reflexively shooting down proposed service and fare changes, as they so often do. The Daily News reports that MTA chief and board chairman Tom Prendergast emailed a memo to MTA board members in late November saying that staff responses to pitches—such as lowering commuter-rail fares in the city or creating a shuttle bus to LaGuardia Airport—too often “seemed to indicate that we were rejecting these proposals out-of-hand, mostly on the grounds that they were too costly…We must not and we will not give the appearance that this Board does not play a very thoughtful and active role in these decisions.” [Gothamist – 12/13/15]
  7. Vancouver Is Leading the Way on Accessory Dwelling Units U.S. cities such as San Francisco, Austin, and Seattle also have adopted policies to promote accessory dwellings. But Vancouver’s strategy stands out from most of them in a number of ways. For one thing, Vancouver created a fairly simple process for homeowners to follow. Getting a permit is not dependent on factors that can add uncertainty, such as seeking approval from neighbors. Vancouver also does not require that the owner occupy one of the units on the property. [City Lab – 12/14/15]
  8. City Takes a Look at Diversity of Arts Groups An effort to measure whether New York City’s cultural organizations reflect the famously diverse metropolis they serve has focused fresh attention on a concern that has bedeviled some in the arts world for years. National surveys indicate that employees at U.S. museums, for example, are predominantly white, even as the broader population becomes more racially and ethnically diverse. In New York City, non-Hispanic whites account for about one-third of the total population, according to the U.S. Census. “Think about who are our audiences, and who are working in our cultural institutions,” said Anne Pasternak, director of the Brooklyn Museum. “There does seem to be a disconnect.” [Wall Street Journal – 12/13/15]
  9. Reimagining Broadway as a Pedestrian-Only Public Park There’s no shortage of urban planning projects that aim to utilize existing space in New York City: the High Line is built atop disused train tracks, for example, while the Lowline’s creators want to build a park within an old trolley station. Now, an idea for something called The Green Line proposes to build a 2.5-mile long park along one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares:Broadway. The idea was conceived by Perkins Eastman, a design and planning firm that has worked on various New York City projects like Battery Park City and the redevelopment of Downtown Brooklyn. [Curbed NY – 12/11/15]
  10. Racial Bias In Everything: Airbnb Edition Researchers at the Harvard Business School studying Airbnb now warn that all this information makes it easier for us to discriminate. Researchers Benjamin Edelman, Michael Luca and Dan Svirsky sent out 6,400 messages earlier this year to hosts in five cities — D.C., Baltimore, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Dallas — from invented accounts looking to rent homes on the site under distinctly black and white names. Among the replies, the study uncovered “widespread discrimination” against black guests, and by nearly every kind of host. [Washington Post – 12/12/15]
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