Neighborhood Rezonings in Low-Income, BIPOC Areas Are Not an Effective Affordable Housing Strategy

July 27, 2021

ANHD Report Finds Not All Housing Units Are Created Equal

New York, NY – After analyzing where and how affordable and market rate housing has been produced and through different types of rezonings, the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD) found neighborhood rezonings in low-income, BIPOC neighborhoods are more likely to produce a lower ratio of affordable housing than what occurs there today without a rezoning.

Housing was largely left out of New York City primary discourse even while the majority of voters surveyed said they want bold housing policy from the next administration. In ANHD’s latest report, Not All Housing Units Are Created Equal, we look at the relationship between rezonings, affordable housing, and racial equity, and how the assumptions that underlie the City’s approach to zoning and affordable housing are wrong when you look not just at raw numbers but at ratios of different types of housing created.

Since 2014 at least, neighborhood rezonings have produced far and away more market rate than affordable housing. For every affordable unit created in a neighborhood upzoning/hybrid rezoning, nearly five market rate units were created.

We find that agency site rezonings have been most effective at producing a high ratio of affordable to market rate housing, while neighborhood rezonings have been least effective. Only agency site rezonings have created affordable housing at both a higher ratio of affordable to market rate units and a larger percentage of deeply affordable units, than the numbers citywide. Neighborhood rezonings have produced both a smaller ratio of affordable to market rate units and a smaller percentage of deeply affordable units.

Applying the same tool in a colorblind fashion across neighborhoods does not produce the same results across neighborhoods. Neighborhood rezonings would be most beneficial in Majority White/Moderate- & High-Income community districts and least beneficial in Majority Black Indigenous People of Color/Low-Income community districts. Rezonings are just one tool for affordable housing and one that can do more harm than good if not used correctly - especially in low-income communities of color.

“This report quantifies what we at ANHD and marginalized communities throughout New York City have known for decades - that not all housing units are created equal. Decisions about where and how rezonings are applied as a means to create affordable housing have long-term consequences, especially for our BIPOC and low-income communities, and the repercussions of those decisions shape the future of our neighborhoods,” said ANHD’s Executive Director Barika X. Williams. “The timing of this report could not be more critical. As we transition into a new Administration and new City Council, we hope this report’s recommendations assist our next elected officials in setting a course towards equity.”


Click Here to Download the Full Report
Click Here to Download the Executive Summary


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