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New York Needs To Build 'A Small City of New Housing'

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By 2040, one million new people will be living in New York City, and unless we erect "a small city of new housing," there will be no place to put them. It's common knowledge that there's a shortage of housing in NYC, and a new report by the Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE) at Columbia University reiterates just how desperately New York needs to build. SHoP Architects partner and CURE director Vishaan Chakrabarti told the Journal that current megaprojects like Hudson and Atlantic Yards are "just a drop in the bucket." The Bloomberg administration has spearheaded 119 rezonings to allow for more development, but the CURE report says that this is not enough.

So where should we build? The report points to waterfront development that is close to Manhattan and transit, and it calls for putting more people in smaller areas than what Bloomberg has planned. "It's clear that we have to figure out how to develop our waterfront but in a smart and resilient way," Chakrabarti said. Waterfront development has boomed in places like North Brooklyn, but these same areas now see overcrowded trains, long waiting lists for schools, and collections of sterile glass towers that don't feel like neighborhoods. Plus, Hurricane Sandy proved that New York's waterfronts need some seriously improved flood protection measures. CURE's research director suggested killing two birds with one stone: "We need the infrastructure to prevent storm surges. Why not build housing on top?"

Many cities would love to have too much population growth. The Journal notes that in the same period New York's population has grown to 8.2 million, Detroit's declined to its lowest level since 1910. But between now and 2040, the CURE report says that the city's population will grow 35 percent faster than it did between 2000 and 2010. Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, an urban planning think tank, said that this kind of population growth can be unsustainable and eventually become "a brake on the economic potential of the city." Bring on the buildings!
· City's Boom Spurs a Need for Housing [WSJ]
· Center for Urban Real Estate [official]
Photo by Mark Luethi/Curbed Flickr pool