Resilience special assessments for housing security : a model for mitigating climate and environmental gentrification in New York City
Author(s)Erdman, Stephen Migliore.
Model for mitigating climate and environmental gentrification in New York City
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
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Government spending will need to exceed billions of dollars in the coming years to protect New York City's shores from climate-related storm surges and sea level rise. Calls for these resources to advance social justice alongside climate resilience have grown in recent policy dialogues as climate change threatens to worsen racial and economic exclusion in a city that is already severely stratified. Yet investing in adaptation in expensive neighborhoods with transit access, job opportunities, and high-performing schools may further exclude low-income people and people of color by preserving or exacerbating high housing rents. Likewise, similar investments in currently affordable neighborhoods risk triggering environmental gentrification and displacement.Given these constraints of a market-based property regime, how can cities protect communities from climate risk while ensuring that all people have access to high opportunity, resilient neighborhoods? This paper argues that special assessments, a value capture tool, could extract resources from private property owners benefiting from public investments in climate adaptation to pay for an expanded supply of permanently affordable housing that will facilitate low-income residents' long-term occupancy of climate-fortified areas. The paper provides a legal justification for this approach and a framework for how such special assessments in New York could be administered and calculated. Preliminary estimates based on these calculations suggest that special assessments could generate substantial new resources for the mass production of affordable housing.Such a prospect is reason for policymakers to explore implementing special assessments or using them as leverage when seeking to affirmatively further fair housing in communities historically resistant to such efforts. Likewise, this framework could amplify the movement for property tax reform in New York City, or otherwise support efforts to garner the resources and political will needed for bold climate and housing justice action.
Thesis: M.C.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, May, 2020Cataloged from the official PDF of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 63-75).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.