From the Gotham Gazette:
Looking at the city's long-term housing plan, you would never know there had been a bubble or that we cannot simply build our way out of any crisis. The PlaNYC2030 four-year update, released on Earth Day this year, is all about building hope and enabling new apartment construction. With its penchant for numerical targets, the plan focuses on how many homes the city plans to create and preserve by stimulating growth through zoning changes.
One of the plan's goals is to have completed 165,000 affordable units by 2014. Almost two thirds of these will be renovations of existing units, and only one third will be the result of new construction. All accounts suggest that numerical goal will be met, though it's not clear what is expected to happen after that – almost certainly under the next mayor, who may very well ignore this administration’s plan altogether.
As commendable as the accomplishments may be, meeting the 2014 target will not solve the city's more deep-rooted affordable housing problems. The city’s housing plan is all about increasing supply, mostly by encouraging market-rate development, yet the real crisis has been the loss of existing affordable units. If the past is prelude to the future then the city may end up losing more affordable housing than it is able to create. The mayor has on many occasions claimed that attracting more people with higher incomes is a sign of a successful city, yet more upscale housing is likely to increase rents and house values in existing affordable neighborhoods.