Oculus - Fall 2015 - (Page 22)

feature Housing for the 99% To reverse the tide of soaring rents and neighborhood erosion, local architects, developers, officials, and non-profits are innovating on multiple fronts ©Vanni Archive Architectural Photography BY BILL MILLARD W hatever one thinks of the ideals, tactics, or impact of Occupy Wall Street, that movement chalked up at least one major achievement: introducing the meme "the 99%" into national discourse. Along with scholarly analyses by Thomas Piketty, Joseph Stiglitz, and Paul Krugman, the Occupiers helped highlight soaring inequality during an era that Piketty dubbed the "second Belle Époque" and Krugman, echoing Mark Twain, calls "a new Gilded Age." Though the towers of 57th Street's "Billionaires' Row" are eye-catchingly symbolic, a chief priority for New York's majority is both humbler and more ambitious: finding ways to house the longtimers and newcomers striving to live here on middleclass and working-class incomes. Planned during a mayoralty overtly interested in welcoming billionaires, in the faith that the wealth would trickle down, the one-percent-of-one-percenter towers have yet to produce any such effect (in part because absentee owners of those pieds-à-ciel pay negligible property taxes and no city income tax). With gentrification and displacement battering the city as hard as Superstorm Sandy, New York's 99% look to old and new mechanisms to temper the forces that put stable residency at risk. Mayor Bill de Blasio's 10-year plan, "Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan," sets 22 Oculus Fall 2015 a goal of creating 80,000 new affordable units and preserving 120,000 more by 2024. This past July, the mayor announced that the city had financed 20,325 such apartments (8,500 new and 11,825 preserved) in fiscal year 2015, the most since 1989. Coupled with the Rent Guidelines Board's (RGB) one-year freeze on stabilized rents (affecting about one million units and two million residents), these figures indicate that not all the momentum is unfavorable to tenants. Resistance to housing inflation takes many forms: design innovations such as modular housing, micro-units, and co-housing concepts (in which some spaces, such as kitchens, are shared, within either a market or social-service supported housing). Creative approaches to financing can lower both costs and complexity. Public-sector, subsidized bulwarks, particularly the enormous if distressed stock of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), cannot be left to decay. Underscoring the new urgency of affordability, the Museum of the City of New York recently opened the exhibition "Affordable New York: A Housing Legacy," exploring the century-long history of housing activism. This October, "Designing Affordability" opens at the Center for Architecture, documenting contemporary tactics and case studies. Though the vectors of cost, speed, and Harden + Van Arnam Architects: CAMBA Gardens is a two-building, 209-unit affordable and supportive residence on the Kings County Hospital Center campus in Wingate, Brooklyn. Developed by CAMBA Housing Ventures in partnership with NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, and built to LEED Platinum, Enterprise Green Communities, and NYSERDA standards. Home Game: Winning with Housing

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Fall 2015

First Words Letter From the President
Letter From the Editor
Center for Architecture
One Block Over
Opener: Affordability: Many Paths to a Solution
Housing for the 99%
Tower Power
An Active Market for Passive
Ahead of the Class
It Takes a Village
Support System, Modular Style
From Learning to Living
The DIY Approach to Housing
In Print
118-Year Watch
Last Words
Index to Advertisers

Oculus - Fall 2015