Racial Impact Study Coalition Statement on Passage of Int. 1572-B

By: Alex Fennell

Guest Authors: Racial Impact Study Coalition (RISC)

June 17, 2021

As a Member of RISC, ANHD Applauds the Passage of this Racial Impact Study Legislation

Int. 1572-B represents a victory for our coalition and all New Yorkers that systematically brings equity and race to the forefront of land use and planning in New York City and into alignment with the City’s fair housing goals. Our members have long advocated for reforms to the City’s land use review process.

RISC applauds Public Advocate Williams for advancing this legislation and upholding the values of increased transparency, collaboration with impacted communities, and holding city departments accountable.

RISC would like to recognize the support and work of Speaker Johnson and his team for Int. 1572-B. We’d also like to recognize the early support and leadership from Council Member Salamanca on calling for a racial impact study during consideration of the Southern Boulevard rezoning as well as early bill sponsorship from members of the New York City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC), especially Co-Chairs Adams and Miller.

Earlier this month, the Biden Administration released an interim final rule reinstating Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), which requires local governments that accept federal housing dollars to review their policies and actively work toward reversing segregation. Despite the impact of the previous federal administration rescinding a requirement for an assessment, the City undertook an inclusive and expansive analysis to evaluate fair housing beyond housing choices to look at how the neighborhoods people have access to shape their education, access to employment, health, and opportunity.

Tasked with co-leading and performing the analysis required by Int. 1572-B, the Department of Housing Development and Preservation (HPD) and the Department of City Planning (DCP) have unique staff capacities and expertise to deliver on this mandate. In particular, staff of HPD’s Neighborhood Planning Division and DCP’s Planning Labs Division have produced analysis in the City’s fair housing plan, Where We Live, and developed interactive web tools, like the Zoning Application Portal and Community Profiles Tool, that are accessible to the broader public.

Acknowledging the history and current reality of racism, segregation and housing discrimination is important, as is creating a plan to address it.

With the implementation of Int. 1572-B, we are confident these agencies have the ability to produce a framework to advance Fair Housing in New York City now and well into future administrations. This bill’s requirements stand to be strengthened over time through structured opportunities to refine the methodology through a public comment period and improvements in the analysis in the future as better data become available.

RISC members remain committed to helping shape the City’s approach to creating a displacement risk index and compiling the data to be included in the equitable development data tool. By strengthening these tools and supporting community conversations, New Yorkers can create their own pathways for more informed development decisions. We encourage the City to learn from other municipalities that have conducted a displacement risk analysis, such as Seattle, Boston, and Portland, as they proceed with this important work.

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