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May 5, 2009

Another gentrification discussion, the hard to find "sweet spot," and the "public realm"

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder reviews a preview of a live WNYC broadcast of a discussion on preservation and gentrification, and ties it ever-so-obliquely to Atlantic Yards.

A caller named Manny, who grew up in the Lower East Side and Washington Heights, expressed understandably mixed feelings.

"Is the city safer, yes, but at what cost?" he asked rhetorically. "To have $90-a-plate food [at restaurants] on Avenue B is crazy... It's good, but it's also bad, because the poor people at the end have to pay."

Well, that's only if the city allows developers and homeowners to share the benefits of rising property values without any sharing the wealth--redistributing tax money in the form of "public realm" investment, requiring subsidized housing as a tradeoff for increased density, and making non-gentrified neighborhoods more attractive thanks to better transit and parks.

(Oh yeah, what's the connection to Atlantic Yards? Had the city been doing this all along, a project like AY--essentially a private rezoning--wouldn't have been seen as a savior by some and wouldn't have been so polarizing.)

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Posted by eric at May 5, 2009 10:29 AM