Harlem

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  1. Harlem Piers: W Architecture and Landscape Architecture Spring 2007
  2. Columbia Manhattanville: Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Marilyn Taylor/SOM, 2016
  3. Apollo Theater: Beyer Blinder Belle with Davis Brody Bond, under renovation (wiki)
  4. Loews-Victoria Theater: RFP issued, no completion date (wiki)
  5. Harlem Park: TEN Arquitectos, no completion date
  6. Kalahari Apartments: Frederick Schwartz and GF55 and Studio JTA, September 2007
  7. Uptown New York Reissuing: RFP, 2006
  8. Latino Entertainment Corridor: Architect TBA, no completion date
  9. East River Plaza: Greenberg Farrow Architects, spring 2008

Comments, images, pictures, stories, site plans are welcome on these locations. Additions are welcome (posted 2010)

Lower Manhattan


6. David Childs/SOM; World Trade Center Transit Hub Santiago Calatrava; Tower 2, Sir Norman Foster; visitor center
7. 101 Warren Street; SOM, Ismael Leyva Architects, 2007
8. William Beaver House; Developer Andras Balazs, no completion date
9. Staten Island Whitehall Ferry Terminal; Fred Schwartz, 2005
10. Battery Maritime Building; Renovation, Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, 2006
11. Beekman Street Tower l Gehry Partners, Ismael Leyva Architects
12. 80 South Street: Santiago Calatrava
13. Pier 17; Beyer Blinder Belle, no completion date
14. Drawing Center; Architect TBA, 2011
15. East River Waterfront; SHoP and Richard Rogers Ken Smith Landscape Architects, 2009
16. Brooklyn Bridge Park; Michael Van Valkenburgh, 2012
17. One Brooklyn Bridge Park/360 Furman Street Creative Design Associates, fall 2007

New York Magazine 2006

One World Trade Center was expected to incorporate a high level of social responsibility in urban design introducing new architectural and environmental standards.  Yet when completed in 2013, it will offer on a small footprint, 2.6 million square feet of office space in 70 office floors, a public lobby with a 50-foot ceiling, an observation deck at 1,265 feet above the ground with a restaurant, extensive shopping, and ample parking. Call me crazy, but that reads like the “same old” pitch to me. Millions of dollars are committed to a vast public process for Lower Manhattan Development following the World Trade Center tragedy in a $2 million meeting at the Javits Convention Center. It also gave rise to the “small is beautiful” idea when a dedicated group of design professionals from all fields began to forge a new vision for New York.  It also fueled the idea that APA-Metro should establish an Urban Design Committee and press for answers to how public engagement in design and planning can be more effective.

See: 18 – 21 Red Hook

Tale of Two CTs

City Center
Lincoln Square

Robert Venturi once observed Las Vegas as the only uniquely American expression of architecture. No one ever says it is a product of thoughtful planning. In 2006, when MGM Mirage and partners decided to build City Center, Las Vegas, NV, New York news aptly described it as an entertainment-based retail project. A comparison with an older effort confirms why metaphor-desperate architecture critics get super busy; however, I think lousy planning is the more useful element to engage. Enter stage left, Lincoln Square, Center, and Circle.

A viewpoint for examining the similarities and differences from one other kind of uniqueness can be useful. America is not built on ancient traditions, universal religion, ethnicity, or race; our founders believed they could be built on ideals. The principles of human dignity are given the highest value. Without the rigorous implementation of this core value, community development tends to fail this purpose. The question is not if the development practice in Lincoln Square, NYC, and City Center, Las Vegas was racist. The question is, how much racism is in play?

These two real estate investments are instructive of American urban development. They stand fifty years apart, but it might as well be five centuries regarding their exposure to values. Robert Moses broke ground on the Lincoln Center project with President Eisenhower. The biography of both patriarchs confirms a systemic racism component. Both believed Black people should be treated equally but did not think they were equal, and many of the policies and actions of both remain as proof.

Lincoln Square is an example of racialized architecture rationalized in New York City because the backdoor (parking/shipping) of Lincoln Center is Amsterdam Avenue adjacent to public housing. The entry plaza logically favored the Broadway/Columbus intersection. This was a reasonable architectural decision for many reasons. However, one reason rarely, if ever mentioned, is that architecture as a profession has no design solution for racism. They are subservient; the racism of their clients is included. The profession received clear notice of this problem in 1968 at their 100th convention (here).

Lincoln Center’s development is not as apparent as the proliferation of Confederate monuments from 1900 to through the 1920s, which continues through the 1950s. Lincoln Center did not support segregation with intimidation. On the other hand, it did support rules of law ito demolish a mostly Black neighborhood in the name of high-culture.

The Civil Rights Movement pushes back, and Charlottesville’s Robert E. Lee Park is now Emancipation Park. A record of the effort to remove intimidating monuments is kept by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). On the other hand, the high culture of Lincoln Center uses the grade sheet of their traditions. They seek to convert participants into high arts as their earnest effort to confront racism and claim success in programmatic terms.

Lincoln Center represents issues that architectural design or sculpted monuments cannot handle. Its creation was born of the slum clearance, race intimidation movement known as Urban Renewal. It developed through the redlined 50s and into the late 60s in NYC. The civil rights response pushes back but is compelled to accept reconciliation measures. Reconciliation also occurs in the offerings of special district law in 1969. The Lincoln Square District’s roots can point a bit remarkably to its transformation. It led to comprehensive inclusionary zoning laws, albeit fifty years later.

As a renewal program, the special district design attacked the southern diaspora of poverty into the North with displacement strategies. As for tactics, restitution-like compromises such as the promise of affordable housing and well-funded ‘top-down” cultural services can be agreeable goals to the “fighters” and the losses, grave as they may be, deemed acceptable.

Understanding these programs’ rectitude provides the added depth needed to understand the term “systemic” in race relations and economic change.  The displacement practice, once quoted to me once as, “you are free, just not here, because you can’t afford it,” continues to this day and well examined in a report from the University of Pennsylvania’s City Planning program (here).  Displacement is a percentage game, and if human dignity was the measure, the players on both sides are losing. Penn’s work is an excellent update of Chester Hartman’s book, “Displacement: How to Fight It,” developed by Dennis Keating and Richard LeGates (1981). The truth in both publications, now decades apart, is the displacement process has only changed on the margins. Therein lies the terror of it all.

2009

2018

A small portion of New York City (Map: CT 145) covers an area of eight typical city blocks just west of Central Park. It had a 2000 population of 4,500 people living in 2,900 housing units that sustains a low vacancy rate of about 2%. The land area is 60 acres to yield a residential density of 48,000 people per square mile. (Facts to be updated following 2020 Census – see below.)

The area includes the Fordham University Law School, and it is just south of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Juilliard School, and a dozen other cultural miracles. It is not just a neighborhood composed of multiple-story apartment buildings; it is a destination experience established by cultural centers, the splendor of Central Park’s open space, and the Time Warner 12-story shopping “mall” without the standing auto-surround. The daytime population density can be doubled with ease and well supported by a transit system at this location that can deliver 5,000 people per hour, 24/7/365.

Zoning Resolution Chapter: 82-00 Map:  8c Effective Date: 4/24/69

The public goal (1969) of the Special Lincoln Square District is to enhance the area as an international center for the performing arts. To achieve this goal, urban design along Broadway will follow street line rules. Arcades for interior urban-room retail and service facilities provide a compromise for regulation and limits on street-level uses. Supply-side development bonuses are through special permits that offer added square footage for housing rented at lower (but not low) rents governed by Inclusionary Housing R10. and subway improvements. The demand side bets on good shows, a friendly neighborhood, and a sincere hope that the NYC mass transit services do not collapse.

Lincoln Center is a life-long learning opportunity in community development. Despite a long history of cultural engagement efforts as compensation for a vast mid-50s clearance of thousands of families, a tabula rasa planning strategy, and elements such as the fortress edge at Amsterdam Avenue, the entire project remains an unfulfilled story of transitional urban power.  Its future continues to be written for the success it still might get, not by crossing Amsterdam, but in recognizing how well the social fabric of this part of Manhattan is willing to attack its drift into a binary culture and ignore new opportunities that offer exceptional new levels of depth.

Instantanious Urbanism

The comparison with another entertainment-retail center for the high-spend culture has America written all over it. It is instructive of the “binary problem” and a warning of competing solely for the high-end. The City Center was a five-year design and build “hit”, not unlike graffiti, but way neat and well worth the time exploring innovations.

The $9+ Billion Las Vegas City Center (left to right): KPF’s Mandarin Hotel, (392) Libeskind, and Rockwell’s Crystal’s premium goods mall, Pelli’s Aria, (4,000) Helmut Jahn’s Veer, (335) Foster’s ill-fated Harmon. (demolition was in 2015) Also in the City Center, Rafael Viñoly Vara hotel and residences (1,495). A “who’s who” of architect high-end destination creation. The City Center project broke ground in 2006, and despite significant construction difficulties, including nine deaths in sixteen months, the new skyline hit the press in late 2009. The plan for this massive development was based on speed regardless of the human cost and a systemic “rent-comes-first” problem.

The entire project is symbolized by the demolition of Foster’s Harmon hotel, but like New York City’s development projects, the greater effort survived the 2008 recession. In Las Vegas, all bets are all on the black. Undeterred, billions spent in building the City Center out of nothing that can be remembered occurred even though Las Vegas sits amidst the aridest desert on Earth. Most of the 2.6 million residents trust in the spin on Lake Mead as shrinking (or not), rejecting any notion of a prolonged era of despair due to the rains of 2016/17.

The fresh knowledge of anguish from the City Center project became available when the Las Vegas Sun received a Pulitzer Prize for uncovering the causes of construction deaths and lax regulatory assessments. The tragedy of a worker’s family is described (here). You can read all of the stories by Las Vegas Sun for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Public Service (here). One of them points to NYC’s positive response to construction safety. Please read the work of Alexandra Berzon of the Sun who explored the pace, fear, and death, and terror that accompanied the creation of City Center before taking in the five minutes on the spin on the final product in the following presentation.

Bill Smith managed construction of the $9 billion City Center completed in 60 months.

All of Las Vegas began as a city of no-rules sprawl. The property taken didn’t make the news. It produced thousands of hotel and residential condo units spread through multiple structures on a 67-acre site. The Vara overlaps residence floors with a 1,500-room hotel. Regular housing is included in the Mandarin Oriental and a 37-floor twin tower. The housing and related residential accommodations combine a complex of hotels, shops, and gambling entertainment. Whether the housing is composed of permanent residents or time-shared ‘hotel-condo participants is of small consequence. The community with this density can resolve the service implications with reasonable ease based on density. That leaves median income and whether racial and gender disparities are becoming dispositive.

Developing business models on the provision of unique destination-retail cultures (high or low) are coupled with a base of rental units, permanent, and condo-hotel housing. Development of this kind suggests the need for a comparison built on the demography of a place, before, during, and after. Such a comparison could yield measures by which the fast “time is money” impact of capital project disruptions that often lead to forced and economic displacement also provide proof of balance. There would be sufficient generational investment for those found in the wake of this harm that will never occur to that household again. It would be a guarantee that the cycle of poverty ends with an emphasis on every child regardless of the cost.

AKA: Near Win Wheel

The resident population of Las Vegas will be close to three million people in 2020, and before the 2020 pandemic, this city had 42.52 million visitors in 2019. There are just two “isms” that describe gambling in Vegas, “tourism” and “capitalism.”

The increased competition for gamblers as entertainment-based retail comes clear in a joke you would not hear at City Center. “What is the difference between an online casino and a live casino? – When you lose online and cry, no one will laugh at you.” The enclosures of the modern casino encourage over-confidence, leading to the illusion of security. Our brains like this as a sense of pleasure and contributes to the idea that an educated guess can be precise. Illusions of control also negate outcomes of chance into more extreme emotions, such as a “near win” means getting close to one.

To the visitor, the core illusion is gambling is a personal decision not influenced by the environment or knowledge of “the odds.” Both support and encourage the fantasy of winning and a sense of superiority despite a uniform failure (not-wining) rate. This phenomenon is well understood; however, the public policy allows gambling while discouraging it as a dangerous, potentially addictive practice.

A growing proportion of society participates in gambling. The economic impact occurs in every public jurisdiction. It is not treated as a preventable problem, but a percentage of the population issue, leaving it to post-trauma “hot-lines” to resolve. Proof of a high-quality education system will occur when the “casino” as a land-use disappears or when no one other than the fabled 1% gamble.

Demographic Comparisons

Every resident, business, and neighborhood in the nation has a census tract. The Bureau of the Census has made significant improvements in providing online access to data for ordinary people. There are thousands of tables on who we are as a nation, city, state, county. The census tract is the “where” of this data. Knowing the actual condition of our lives yields an assessment of fitness and reasons for action based on comparisons. The first and most important bit of that knowledge is to know that the patriarchy that beats society into submission cannot be used to dismantle its house. One must know how the house got there in the first place.

The creation of the structures you enter to live, work, shop, or play must be safe structures. To assure these objectives, the regulations governing land use and the practice of architecture, engineering, and construction are strict. When errors are discoverer and repair is impossible, the building comes down, as in Foster’s building in Las Vegas. The structures also have social and economic impacts, but these products are not well regulated or measured. The ideals of the American Constitution demand fair treatment measures under the law, fair and just compensation and unfettered access to quality education, and a “we the people” promise of fairness in the pursuit of happiness.

Following, you will find a glimpse of the 2010 data on two U.S. Census tracts illustrated in the description of these two locations. This glimpse will await the final publication of the 2020 Census. Both locations are products of a largely racist power structure focused solely on the flow of capital as exhibited by the value of the real estate. The fulfillment of America’s constitutional ideals is deemed irrelevant or, at best, secondary to that flow of capital.  Ironically, improving the flow of capital is touted as the best remedy to whatever set of problems a social justice agenda might present. Therefore, the quality of life becomes a material consequence of profit. Rightly so, until a tipping point occurs when the measure of quality lowers until it is only viewed as the ability to subsist.

Population, Sex, and Race

Census Tract 145 Manhattan (2018 estimates) has a total population of 5,960. It is 64.4% White, Non-Hispanic, and 38% of the population 15 years and older have never married. Census Tract 68 Las Vegas (2018 estimates) has a total population of 5,077. The White, Non-Hispanic population is 23.2%, and 45% of the population 15 years and older have never married.

2010 City Center (CT 68)
Total population3,986
Median age (years)35.1
Sex ratio (males per 100 females)101.9
Age dependency ratio56.6
Old-Age dependency ratio17.0
Child dependency ratio39.6
One race99.0%
White74.9%
Black or African American7.4%
American Indian and Alaska Native0.0%
Asian4.6%
Some other race12.3%
Two or more races1.0%
Hispanic or Latino origin (any race)45.4%
White alone, not Hispanic or Latino41.7%
2020 City Center (CT 68)
to be written

2010 Lincoln Square (CT 145)
Total population6,245
Median age (years)34.3
Sex ratio (males per 100 females)105.0
Age dependency ratio33.8
Old-Age dependency ratio20.2
Child dependency ratio13.6
One race97.3%
White79.0%
Black or African American3.8%
American Indian and Alaska Native0.3%
Asian12.2%
Some other race1.4%
Two or more races2.7%
Hispanic or Latino origin any race)14.4%
White alone, not Hispanic or Latino69.4%
2020 Lincoln Square (CT 145)
to be written

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Self-Analysis

In 2006, New York Magazine identified 50 projects and commissioned the “world’s best architects” composite.

In 2006, the most active and closely watched areas were:

  1. Atlantic Yards, Brooklyn, 2010 & 2016 (changing) See Atlantic Yards Superblocks.
  2. The New Museum, Chelsea. It’s done. Good neighbor? Bad neighbor?
  3. 80 South Street, Downtown, future (changing) approved in 05, so now what?
  4. IAC Headquarters, High Line, 2007 (ceramic pebbles in the glass to save energy)
  5. Silvercup West, Queens, 2009
  6. Freedom Tower, Downtown, 2015!

Now approaching twenty years later for these areas time set aside for an assessment will prove instructive. Comments on the products regarding the social, economic, and environmental concerns are due. The public process used to promote the plans requires comparison with the end product requires analysis. The image source is New York Magazine 2006.

Greenpoint Northside Waterfront

Manhattan/Brooklyn Heights

  1. The Edge Stephen B. Jacobs; Master Plan FXFOWLE and TEN Arquitectos, Sept. 2008
  2. Palmer’s Dock FXFOWLE, phase one, 2008; phase two, 2009
  3. North 8: Greenberg Farrow Architecture, spring 2007
  4. Domino Sugar Site: Rafael Viñoly Architects, Park opened in 2018, ArchDigest: FEMA flood plan ArchRecRev (payportal)
  5. Schaefer Landing: Karl Fischer Architects, 2006
  6. Freedom Tower, David Childs/SOM; World Trade Center Transit Hub Santiago Calatrava; Tower 2, Sir Norman Foster; visitor center, 2011
  7. 101 Warren Street; SOM, Ismael Leyva Architects, 2007
  8. William Beaver House; Developer André Balazs, no completion date
  9. Staten Island Whitehall Ferry Terminal; Fred Schwartz, 2005
  10. Battery Maritime Building; Renovation, Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, 2006
  11. Beekman Street Tower l Gehry Partners, Ismael Leyva Architects
  12. 80 South Street: Santiago Calatrava
  13. Pier 17; Beyer Blinder Belle, no completion date
  14. Drawing Center; Architect TBA, 2011.
  15. East River Waterfront; SHoP and Richard Rogers Ken Smith Landscape Architects, 2009
  16. Brooklyn Bridge Park; Michael Van Valkenburgh, 2012
  17. One Brooklyn Bridge Park/360 Furman Street Creative Design Associates, fall 2007
Upper West Side
  1. Javits Center; Rogers FXFOWLE Epstein, 2010.
  2. West Side Rail Yards No completion date.
  3. Moynihan Station David Childs/SOM, late 2010
  4. High Line; Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, phase one, 2008; phase two, 2009
  5. Chelsea Arts Tower Kosser & Garry Architects, Gluckman Mayner Architects, HOK, Fall 2006.
  6. Vesta 24; Garrett Gourlay Architects and James D’Auria Associates, April 2006.
  7. Marianne Boesky Gallery Deborah Berke & Partners Architects, September 2006.
  8. West 23rd Street building Neil M. Denari Architects, Marc Rosenbaum, Gruzen Samton, 2008.
  9. General Theological Seminary Tower The Polshek Partnership, no completion date.
  10. High Line 519; ROY Co., late 2006
  11. West 19th Street building Ateliers Jean Nouvel, no completion date.
  12. IAC Headquarters Gehry Partners, March 2007.
  13. 516 West 19th Street Selldorf Architects, 2008
  14. The Caledonia Handel Architects, 2008.
  15. Chelsea Market Residence Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects
  16. The Standard, NY The Polshek Partnership, 2007. High Line Club Developers Charles Blaichman and André Balazs, no completion date
  17. Pier 57 Michel De Fournier and Gensler, no completion date
  18. Dia High Line; Roger Duffy/SOM, 2008.

The health and prosperity of the world are at stake in this century. Planning, architecture, urban design, and engineering must become one discipline. It must take power to build connections to a far broader set of responsibilities. The need to produce so we don’t fail our kids, and their kids are now. Are the steps taken by these projects enough?

Are public agencies overwhelmed? Can they force the building of the city that should be built, or managing the one that can be built by those this limited imagination and concise term interests. Our public bodies have enormous authority. They miss opportunities to correct imbalances, leverage resources, and eliminate errors for the lack of political will and the ability to take power?

Anyone what to upgrade this with a starchitecture review?

Embed Density

highwater

We live in a culture that embeds information and where the most important things tend to go unsaid. All of us put information into machines that will retrieve data on practically anything imaginable, from an alarm clock to an AI for more complex decision-making. Perhaps this will release the unsaid portions about the vital function of cities in human life.

A recent Rolling Stone article by Jeff Goodell (Flooded City) does not make this point directly but exhibits its results with great clarity. Goodell talks about flooding in New York involving high or low ground impacts with storm surge or microburst variables. The unsaid stuff defines a vast combination of intellectual and architectural ramparts outlined as plans in various locations throughout New York City.

A talking head presentation at the New America Civic Hall (9.15.16) proved to be very un-civic but managed to remain polite. All New Yorkers will look at a sea rise map, make a quick am “I in or out” assessment and log that in for a personal assessment of risk. Unfortunately, many of the people attending were either outside the lines. Those who were wet on the map had an obvious self-interest with the prospect of land poverty but could not express them over all the talk of the new walls, ramparts, bounded rationality, and cognitive dissonance presentation about investments in resilience.

Promises

I suggest how to escape the Chicken Little problems the “flooded city” approach creates. The last half of the American century has offered two promises (maybe three). The first is the promise to eliminate disadvantage as discovered by the individual, the family, community, and nation. The American vocabulary, literature, art, law, and architecture present an exquisite language born of the poetry and forums of each for change and communication. The framers of the Constitution strengthen us. We have been given the tools, created the space, and found ways to speak truth to power. We are skilled in dialogue. We remain encouraged by each battle for social justice and civil society. We are routinely encouraged to confront the world’s history in ways that will keep that promise alive.

While not as refined, the second promise adds powerful new energy to the promise of eliminating disadvantage.  It is the promise of sustainability. From the Club of Rome to its reflective twenty-five-year reunion at the Smithsonian, a more accurate word, Resilience, now communicates the correct challenge and implies a variety of post-trauma conditions. We now deploy resilience officers throughout the world, but their task is not to look at high water and low land. The resilience mission is different – find ways to draw a line in the sand. It matters far less about where there will be high water until we know how to draw that line in the sand. There is no crystal ball. Pointing to facts is all that scientists can do. Describe where a part of the sky has fallen. Right now, that is more useful than why to avoid tragedy.

rollingstonegoodell

Historically, there is the “duck and cover” hedge and the old MAD way to a resilience challenge. The worldview of mutually assured destruction is also composed of private investors who are very active in their demand for public dollars to drive down risk. We need a much broader outline of ways to invest publically in resilience that may come down to clearly explaining the difference between the circle and the grid in urban design as we see it in the national highway system and the urban crisis.

The content embedded in the promises leading to eliminating disadvantage through fairness and sustainability can help define the architecture presented as walls and ramparts that encircle something. In this design, there is an inside and an outside. Without injecting these two promises into the process, the design of the walls and ramparts will damage more than any violent fire or storm.

Future articles and public discussions should take a lesson from Elizabeth Kolbert. Her extraordinary review of the science of global change over the last half-billion years defines our entry into the Anthropocene epoch, the knowledge of which might save us all.

Elizabeth Kolbert is author of Pulitzer Prize-winning, The Sixth Extinction


The Isle de-Jean Charles

It is time to get dangerously practical about the local impact of global problems. I would apply the Isle de-Jean Charles Climate Change Refugees (video here) to a New York City example: The action taken in Louisiana occurred when they were down to the last two percent of their land. (get the untold story on the 98%). Can New York or any other city afford to set that standard or hedge that bet that way?

Un-rough the math here,  $100 million in relocation funds for 20 households applied to the 35,000 families in, let’s say, Canarsie, a neighborhood in Brooklyn. The bill would come to $175 billion. Resettlement at 20HH/year would take a millennium. At 500 HH/year, the cost would be $2.5 billion/year, and it would take 70 years. So buy the property, strip it of its toxins, wait for the ocean to come and you have an artificial reef over the foundations, counter the acidity and make seafood.

An investment of this kind protects the future. It would prevent the “land poverty” plan currently in play to reflect the ramparts’ tragedy, not the ocean’s. For a place like Canarsie, or the Rockaways (the natural rampart), the test should be whether a quid pro quo is in place, or just another caveat emptor slap in the face, aimed at people of color.

Truth to power, you cannot get that pitiful amount today for a place like Canarsie. The policy for change remains in the MAD world of catastrophic resolution. The Chicken Little approach does not have a chance unless you do one simple thing. Put that line in the sand and be a little scary.  Draw the wall, present its ramparts across the landscape of NYC or any other place on the planet, and have the courage to ask and answer two questions.  

Who’s In? Who’s out? Straight up, without weapons, humans are not built to kill, with no claws or fangs. Still, when one group of humans is forced to say to another group facing a life-threatening condition, “you are not selected” now or even in the evolutionary sense, I do not know which group is worse off.

Rex L. Curry

A third promise awaits development given an implementation plan.  The positive side of the formation of ramparts and walls is the opportunity to recognize a dense, contained urban life offering new forms of growth. The challenge is to put a stop to the grid humans have drawn on the earth.  The grid is a symbol of the infinite. The sphere or circle is limited. The fuel of unlimited growth within this circle (ramparts and all) is to develop methods for all that enters the encircled urban world will leave in a non-toxic form. Today over 80% of what flows out is toxic.

Today the planners, engineers, architects, and climate scientists assess the impact of the sea rise, storm surges, and microbursts pounding down the Hudson River Valley on the city’s property. The Flooded City article points out the big picture these professionals paint for owners and policymakers.

For example, a rise in sea level far less than a meter places 71,500 buildings and $100 billion of property in NYC’s high-risk flood zones. Sea rise is not a complex assessment. Remote earth sensing devices can measure elevation to less than a meter. Some devices calculate small fluctuations in gravitational forces, and for any area in question, they can do so in time. The ramparts and walls encircling vulnerable properties using these tools also exhibit various wrongheaded priorities of great value for reforms and the discussion of fairness.

The below-ground world of tunnels and conduits (vehicles, gas, power, clean, gray, and black water) of New York City is not climate-proof. Yet, given the positives of the walls and ramparts, the capacity to fragment infrastructure systems to function independently is implied. Still, the policy is dishonest unless the question “who is in and out” is answered.

Global processes are geologically instantaneous events in the context of the last half-billion years. They occur daily but remain well outside of human experience. We are unlikely to “duck and cover” or step back from the waves of an unobservable rise of the ocean at the base of a massive river basin. Creating the incentives to do so is the challenge of our time.

Nevertheless, insisting on acquiring and removing toxins from NYC’s waterfront and flood-prone zones may be the best plan of action for no other reason than it will take a century to accomplish. The planning work as it stands today favors protecting property in the short term. It emanates from the boardrooms and public conferences in the old way.  It is about producing jobs through relatively high yield, short-term investments under the heading of resiliency. The discussion of the chemical, biological, and most importantly, financial toxins encircled by these old ways requires a sharper focus by its critics.

Midtown Eastside

432aerial
Aerial of 432 Park Avenue

Manhattan is a “playground” for wealthy people; public policy is interested in keeping enough households to ensure the maintenance and basic services. It is called eighty-twenty. The building at 432 Park Avenue is its new beacon, sans the “twenty.” All 104 condos are sold, including the penthouse, at $95 million. The lower-cost units started at $7 million.

New York City’s building machine exhibition has begun. (Have a look http://432parkavenue.com).  What do machines need?  People to maintain them.

In October 2012, Aaron Betsky of Architect thought it oozed privilege and wealth. Still, it did so with “elegance, borne out of its simplicity as much as its height, that makes it clear that it is still possible to make a beautiful skyscraper.

More about Aaron Betsky’s argument is in this 12min. video

432 Park Avenue is taller than One World Trade Centre by ten meters, discounting the height of its spire, and it has started something much bigger than big buildings.  It is the percentages.

“I see the Macklowe building down Park when I step out my front door at East 89th. In the morning, the pure square building, with its huge square windows, does have a Brutalist cast, but it also has a haunting aspect, like a painting by Giorgio de Chirico. The night is my favorite time, the deep blue of the protective film on the window glass giving the building a lonely, melancholy aspect as if it were the only one of its type on Park Avenue. Which, for the moment, it is.”

December 2012, the Real Estate Section of the New York Times

432 Park Ave. is not on Park Avenue, but it is “big” enogh to be there.

A machine city is a thing of parts designed and operated by people running corporations to fulfill functions. The fate of 36 East 57th St. next to 432 Park Avenue illustrates the function of density as a creator and destroyer of the city’s machine parts.

The difference in the photograph (top left) to the photo below illustrates the power of the 432 building (bottom). It displaced the little 36 building (middle photo) for $65 million. Its land area is just 5,020 sq. ft. The gross floor area of the building was just 77,500 square feet. A new building can be four times this amount but wait. The 432 building topped off at 96 stories in 2015. The lot area is 34,472 sq. ft. While the 432 lot is seven times larger than the 36 building, it produced a tenfold increase in gross floor area at 745,174 sq. ft. Three hundred people in the building would make the density per square mile at just over 200,000 people. A density handled easily in New York.  If the density is not the problem, what is?

The $65M acquisition of the 36 building brings the cost of an acre in this part of Manhattan to $1.2 billion. The price is high, but it is an expense of an inconvenience adjacent to the extreme presented by 432 Park Avenue. The 21st century like every century before, will consume everything in the 20th deemed unworthy of its history. The bar is set high, and the demand for more feet, more stories, more rent, people, and machines to run them is clear.

The current resident community known as Turtle Bay and Midtown East responded with their own zoning initiative. Still, the issue is less about zoning than what the old zoning allowed developers to conceive and what it portends for the future of Manhattan.  They hired consultants and produced detailed images and zoning text available (here). As the East River 50s Alliance, they resist the possibility of the following potential development scheme produced for them by Michael Kwartler & Associates (ESC). 432 Park Avenue is not pictured.  It is on 57th Street and three blocks to the east (Third, Lexington, and Park). On 57th Street between Park and Madison, the building’s Park Avenue address is a side story on corruption.  You out there, any ideas?

Current Zoning

The Right Questions are not about Zoning and Height

The right question is why these new, enormously profitable buildings are not LEED Platinum and engaged in creating the demand for new industry, jobs, and investment that address global warming issues, affordable housing. Is it just because of the condo loophole?

Require them to be sustainable (not just profitable).  If they are not, the rest of the city will pay the price in more ways than one.  Let someone count the way to the depth and breadth a city’s heart can reach. As this neighborhood (wealthier than most NYC neighborhoods) confronts the Department of City Planning’s substantial zoning powers, the entire question of unsustainable development is drowned and silenced by the litigiously dull, sad, and excruciating weak arguments against the police power of zoning. The fear of building height or the effect of a building’s mass on the city is a fear of the unknown.  It is composed of two main elements. The unknown of mass and the volume of people with money (m = ?V). It should be called the 80/20 problem in reverse.

Inclusionary zoning (IZ) is a tool developed in New York City’s never cold housing market to produce workforce housing units.  The deal is 80% market rate 20% affordable based on the chart below. This policy, among others, helps to assure an accessible labor force and economic diversity nearby. In addition, rent is affordable if it is around one-third of a household’s income.

A family of four would pay around $2,300 a month if 33% income using this measure.  Several adjustments are possible, but even this amount is less than the 2016 median rent in New York City at around $3,200 a month. Households that fit into the following income ranges meet the affordability thresholds for housing eligibility.

AMI:2016
Household
Size
  30% of AMI50% of AMI60% of AMI80% AMI
Income:extremely lowvery lowtax credit maxLow
1$19,050$31,750$38,100$50,800
2$21,750$36,250$43,500$58,000
3$24,480$40,800$48,960$78,336
4$27,180$45,300$54,360$86,976

The East River Alliance neighborhood has a $109,000 median income, which means a substantial portion of its 45,000 households can smell the hot specter of displacement caused by dropping this new mass into their community.  Being offered a lottery shot at long-term affordability is not a solution. It is a threat. It is not the buildings. It is the policy, stupid (I love that line in all its forms).

If comments on this subject are of any interest the deep end stuff is here:

City Land.org website: http://goo.gl/iOCjR7 An excellent initial summary of the issues. The Community Group’s website: www.erfa.nyc The text and the argument for change. The City Planning website: http://maps.nyc.gov/census/ for a look at the area.

Doomed to be Tiny

The Art Students League and The Resistance

As the proposal stands now, the ASL is turned into an artifact.   It is being readied for placement in nothing more than photographs of where it once was. I have three ideas for addressing the problem faced by the membership of the ASL. Each one recognizes the status of the existing conditions.  Each has an outside chance of keeping ASL a part of the New York City artist community.  All three would be a slam dunk.

ASL

PART I

A concern of every institution of learning is to reflect effectively on its experience. This responsibility now remains posited firmly before the entire membership of the ASL. At present, to “not vote” or to vote “NO” has been predefined as an act of futility, if not the essence of an”absurd vote.” This has made the ASL part of a radically changed society, but more importantly, it is now required to assess this new condition’s terror fully, but look on the bright side. The coalitions of those who resist “the project” have an opportunity to establish new principles for adoption by a more innovative, possibly energized ASL board and membership. These principles arose from the three new realities embedded in the project and revealed in its proposals’ ongoing evaluation.

Without a doubt, the ASL members are not investors. They are plaintiffs (here). Therefore, the ASL will re-dedicate its aesthetic vision, art, and talent to recognizing social inequality and the best of its ability, take the steps needed to move toward its eradication as a social pathology in this city and this nation.

  • Never has the seriousness of this issue been more clearly revealed than in the value of residential and commercial floor area defined by this project.   Over one-third of all renters (2/3 of all residents) in NYC now pay over half of their income in rent payments.  Rent has increased by 8.6% from 2007 to 2011, while the cities median income decreased by 6.8% in the same period.1  The income gap in Manhattan is comparable to areas of great social distress, such as Sierra Leone.  None can present the beauty and dignity of being poor with greater clarity than the artist.  This truth must remain in the heart of ASL.

PART II

The second fact revealed by “the project” is equally disturbing to any rational observer not blinded by the ways gold can darken our future. The nature of membership in the ASL society has been revealed as a token, each participant a mere actor on a stage of their choosing but damned by their will to lead.  In the face of this great change, the ASL society’s value is strained by clouds of tradeoffs, exchanges, and quid pro quo rationalizations.  If there is to be art, the artist must see the truth. Unfortunately, the ASL leaders have delivered nothing more than a sense of hopelessness. For this, the members of the resistance should be saddened yet resolved to move forward with new leadership.

  • The resistance to “the project” recognizes the capacity of great wealth to overwhelm the old and weak with its power.   With this knowledge, the resistance to “the project” will pledge their unyielding energy to a new purpose.  The resistance to the project and membership of the ASL, therefore, call for the resignation of the board, not in distrust, but with common recognition that new leadership is the only chance the members might have to recover from the overwhelming sense of worthlessness bestowed upon the history and legacy of the ASL by the current board.

PART III

The third strategy has value in two ways. First, if heard by the developers and deemed reasonable, it offers an overwhelming motive to maximize the project’s potential and, therefore, pause to re-evaluate.   This may yield the time to assess the ability of “the resistance” to move the following proposal forward. Second, it offers the possibility to acquire a briefly postponed vote to obtain a serious review of a wholly new future for the ASL.

An innovative proposal has yet to be fully considered.  It is equally controversial, but it suggests a vision for art in our society is now required to leap into the future instead of being “bought out” of it.   In reviewing the literature and the law, the only way to assure that the ASL will survive as an institution is to reinvent itself completely.

  • Therefore, the resistance offers to yield to “the project” all of the land held by the ASL in trade for a doubling of the equivalent floor area in perpetuity and in a manner that will meet the needs of artists for the next millennia.   Charge the developers responsible for providing for the ASL a superior space, dedicated to the future of fairness and the truth that art brings to life and society.  The ASL has the opportunity to weave its belief in this unique part of human energy into the mission of urban development.  The opportunity for rebirth is the rarest of all gifts.  This is the true offer; it is not in the few coins now tossed on the table.

A personal note:

In reviewing the literature and the law, it is doubtful this option could inject the ASL into the future. The reason for the “unlikely success” of this option is that half of the resistance to the proposal as it stands is resistance to change itself.  It is therefore challenging to establish a majority view toward inclusive forms of change.

Nevertheless, it is imperative to retell and remind all who can hear that New York City’s history is filled with institutions’ energy in buildings that are no longer here.  Far too many of them remain lost to a hope that parts of the human spirit cannot be crushed forever. Like MAS, the ASL should be an institution capable of recognizing its fate and therefore return to the challenge of art.


[1] See report released by New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, the “State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods 2012”

Here is a 2016 NYT Article on the chaos that since (here)

One Bryant Park

In thoughtful research reporting, the requirement, to sum up, should become a higher priority. In Skyscrapers and the World of Tomorrow posted to Planetizen on September 1, 2011, by editors Jeff Jamawat, Kris Fortin, Tim Halbur, and Victor Negrete, the questions sought to define the place for massive buildings, but the article ends by suggesting the problem lies in a lack of a clear, agreed-upon vision for the future. Lots of luck with that one, but they give it a try.

The vision’s content requires data that confirms the efficacy of the following steps.

  1. add full life cycle analysis (e.g. embodied energy) to LEED certification (McEeaney, Toberian)
  2. advance smart building technologies (Black, Leung, Appel)
  3. remove barriers to high (even ultra) density in the right places (Glaeser)
  4. prevent bottom-feeding architecture and beware the onset of tower blight (Kunstler)
  5. remove political gridlock (everybody)

Top of the line sellers provides the data needed for the first two steps thanks to high-end technology buyers (see video below).  Much of the data from these systems are proprietary and slows the change rate, but it is a pay-it-forward change. These investment institutions are strong and global.

The remaining three define the lack of clear vision problem less optimistically.  All of our democratic institutions face demands for NASA-style investment goals amidst fix-it-first philosophies.  How do we dissolve the contradictions of these two different approaches?

In our recent national history, we attacked a similar problem from the top-down and the grass-roots-up with top-end ideas such as the Great Society and things like Headstart in a local precinct. Part of it included an investment in demonstration cities, later renamed Model Cities, while another part vociferously disagreed with an America entering a permanent state of war.  All of this began a process that forever changed the vision of the urban world.

Today, envisioning the city and our future is inseparable, but this begs the question.  The vision will remove the barriers, release unlimited wealth for growth, and break the gridlock cities left in a wilderness known as The Republic of States. Urbanized areas need to be separate and inviolate for a vast new set of powers. That is what is missing. That is what we need.

Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park from Cook+Fox Architects on Vimeo.

INWOOD: Just another zoning change…or is it?

The Re-Zoning Sherman Creek and Inwood

The rezoning of the Sherman Creek waterfront and Inwood’s core area began at the behest of the Economic Development Corporation in 2001. It ended shortly thereafter. Details are found on the EDC website and the DCP website. The reasons for this particular initiative may be generalized to three political influences.

First, New York City’s bid for the 2012 Olympic games and beyond stimulated a massive search for “sites.” Failing this (even though it was a valiant effort), the work retained its second value as a strategy within an overall plan to fulfill the Bloomberg administration’s interest in the production of affordable housing, largely through tax expenditure investments and zoning changes.

Changing the zoning and adding in some bonus floor area minimizes the city’s expense and capital budget to the greatest degree possible—the Japanese call this “minkatsu” to “stimulate the private sector” as a partner.

Third and ultimately, local interest in wealth creation is satisfied. It is a small but influential group of investors with substantial landholdings in this area that need a boost in land value. The entire effort began to play out in the Fall of 2007, and its effects might begin to show almost immediately by the time it gets to the City Council 120 ULURP days later.

The area is predominately composed of immigrants of the Dominican Republic who are steeped in the family but still edgy poor.  The area is also dominated by a high-grade stock of art deco architecture perched for the most part on a hill with a median household income that dwarfs that of the residents just below. Washington Heights/Inwood community contains about 2800 properties, of which less than 4% have been identified as the landmarked property, of which 95% are in Historic Districts.

The Complications? North of the Creek

This community of the hill and the valley of Inwood is just north and east of the Inwood Hill “wilderness,” the last of the original growth of Manhattan and the only known home of the Golden Eagle in New York City. In 1987, four large trees, known as Paulownia tomentosa, mysteriously vanished one night from Inwood Hill Park.

The Rare
Paulownia tomentosa

This just the beginning. I found an image of one and have no idea if it was this rare type, but why else would they get jacked? Henry J. Stern was the commish then and grew up near the park to plant a new Paulownias grove. I have to head back up there.

Highbridge Park Trails Grand Opening Festival May 19, 2007 mountain bikes, mountain bikers, trails Mountain Bikes … years of lobbying and meetings, and a year and a half of actual trial design and … Urban Trailblazers.

The New York City Mountain Bikers Meetup Group: See Map First Meeting: Sat, May 19, 2007, at 10:00 AM. In 2019 $200 Million in Investments to Enrich Inwood Community and Open Waterfront Access, but the zoning change is now listed as inactive (PDF). A sweetener, obviously. Please visit the New York City Economic Development Corporation website to view this project’s most recent updates.

The Re-Zoning of Sherman Creek and Inwood

Remember, over 90% of the housing above 155th Street in Manhattan is rent stabilized.  In a wage shrinking world — this is the only thing that is keeping residents (mostly first generation immigrants from the Dominican Republich have at preventing displacement.

The rezoning of the Sherman Creek waterfront and the core area of Inwood began at the behest of the Economic Development Corporation in 2001. Details are found on the EDC website here and on the DCP website here. The reasons for this particular initiative may be generalized to three political influences.

First, New York City’s bid for the 2012 Olympic games and beyond stimulated a massive search for “sites”. Failing this, (even though it was a valiant effort) the work retained its second value as a strategy within an overall plan to fuflill the Bloomberg administration’s interest in the production of affordable housing, largely thorugh tax expenditure investments and zoning changes.

Changing the zoning and adding in some bonus floor area minimizes the use of the city’s expense and capital budget to the greatest degree possible. The Japanese call this “minkatsu” to “stimulate the private sector” as a partner.

Third and ultimately, a local interest in wealth creation is satisfied. It is a small but influential group of investors with substantial land holdings in this area that need the boost in land value.

This entire effort will begin to play out in the Fall of 2007 and its effects might begin to show almost immediately, by the time it gets to the City Council 120 ULURP days later.

The area is predominately composed of immigrants of the Dominican Republic who are steeped in family but stilledgy poor. The area is also dominated by a high grade stock of art deco architecture perched for the most part on a hill with a median household income that dwarfs that of the residents just below.

This community of the hill and the valley of Inwood is just north and east of the Inwood Hill “wilderness” the last of the original growth of Manhattan and only known home of the Golden Eagle in New York City.

This for example, is just the begininning:

Highbridge Park Trails Grand Opening Festival May 19, 2007 mountainbikes, mountain, bikers, trails Mountain Bikes … years of lobbying and meetings, and a year and a half of actual trail design and … Urban Trailblazers. The New York City Mountain Bikers Meetup Group

First Meeting: Sat, May 19 at 10:00am EDT New York, NY

Columbia’s Manhattanville

Regulatory Taking and Columbia University

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image005.jpg
Columbia Manhattanville (Rendering RPBW/SOM)

Over the last decade, Columbia University acquired over 168 residential buildings between 110th and 125th Streets. This makes up 6,000 housing units, of which very few (est. 10%) are rent-regulated. Deregulation continues rapidly. The Environmental Impact Statement for the campus expansion estimates 5,000 low- and moderate-income residents will be displaced within a ten-block radius. Critics add thousands more from 135th Street northward, suggesting that many buildings already have proformas with their advisors busily working out financing for condos, coops, and luxury rentals. The poster boy is 3333 Broadway, immediately north of the expansion zone that left the Mitchell Lama subsidized housing program leading to 1,000 vacated apartments.

The footprint of the Columbia University expansion into Manhattanville is greater than that of the World Trade Center. And like this development, millions have been spent on public processes. Yet, very little is understood about current residents’ ultimate fate that may or may not withstand these changes’ economic pressure. Even less is known on whether the lives of vulnerable families and businesses swept up in the process could be decisively altered in any meaningful way, except tragically. The capital involved could offer every resident child a guaranteed shot at higher education or equivalent training.  Is it impossible to see a positive future for residents among the proceeds of these capital investments? If not, why not?

Regulatory Taking, Columbia University
Background on the Battleground

In June 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, upheld the use of eminent domain by the city of New London, CT. (Kelo vs. City of New London) by saying economic development was a public purpose, thereby giving the government the authority to acquire property, affirming decades of previous litigation on this issue, by the end of 2006, thirty-five states enacted eminent domain restrictions and related reform of regulatory takings.  Also, related initiatives dubbed Kelo-plus and Kelo 3rd Round seek compensation for lost value due to land-use regulation. To date, only one effort in Arizona stimulated by Howard Rich, a New York real estate investor and libertarian crusader, has succeeded.

Community organizations throughout the country are raising money and filing proposed ballot initiatives with their state attorney general that prohibit the use of eminent domain for transferring property from one private entity to another without added protections. The eminent domain debate in New York should examine its long history of condemnations for economic development.  In this light and from a strictly legal perspective, there are three areas rich with potential litigation, including a referendum.

These are the historical uses of eminent domain, the fairness of direct and indirect compensation, and the targeting of low-income and minority populations.  Unlike other states, the one most likely to succeed in New York will involve added protections to residential and business tenants in reassessing just compensation issues.

Pursuing the tenant protection component could yield valuable community economic development objectives.  Hard to say, but both sides might be more recognizable to the average research effort by viewing: www.law.georgetown.edu/gelpi.  This site helps to define hairline legal differences between regulatory taking and “eminent domain” in the proposed reforms of Oregon’s Measure 37.  In this particular case, government becomes liable for attorney fees if the court award is greater than the initial government offer.  Ouch!

Headline: “Citizens call for reform of the reform.” Timothy Sandefur, Author of “Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st Century America†http://www.instituteforjustice.org/ This site has links to www.cato.org, Howard Rich is a board member (Cato).  He likes how the term “property rights” strikes a chord among voters. They also have a hot-selling t-shirt that reads, blight me. It all seems exquisitely hypocritical, but why?

The public defines Kelo as a decision that betrays the small businessperson and working-class residents and ineffective efforts to erase racially imposed economic disparities.   But, the dissent of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is probably best overall.

“Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner. . . . Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory. . . . The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result.”Sandra Day O’Connor

So how is the policy outlined in this “big picture” fit in a neighborhood like Manhattanville? What does it do to the design of a place? The design is social, not architectural. The strategy is to displace people who represent problems that take a generation to solve a five-year, desirable, and profitable five-year plan. The other displacement element is the refusal to engage in the complexity of dealing and negotiating with ten to twelve small investors and property owners in place of one large mega-investor.

How about seeing INTERNATIONAL HOUSE as an example? Located at 500 Riverside Drive, 122nd Street) New York, NY 10027 http://www.ihouse-nyc.org/ This is a stretch. Still, Columbia offers a very nice “extra-large” apartment with a private bathroom at $12,090/month and other less luxurious accommodations to full-time graduate students.  They are available only during the academic year; undergraduates are welcome in the summer.  Applications are required if stays of 30 days or more are intended.

The economic development practice developed by Columbia’s extension of housing privileges to acquire real estate equity uses the international desire for social capital. This is seen as good business. So, here is the thing, Barbara and Howard Rich are among many large real estate holders who are supporters of university-sponsored Fulbright Scholarships and the programmed-education housing market in New York City. Almost every university in New York City is a sponsor of this program as it brings in paying clients (students of all ages) to the fold. Via: http://www.ihouse-nyc.org/

Suprise, this is a max hit zone for housing such as the above. see: www.metrointl.org/support/documents/2006FulbrightAwardsDinnerSupporters.pdf

Is there anyother way to look at the this? There must be a way…

APA Metro Prepare Testimony on Manhattanville zoning or go straight to the CPC DEIS for some real fun reading…

Regulatory Taking and Columbia University

In June 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, upheld the use of eminent domain by the city of New London, CT. (Kelo vs. City of New London) by saying economic development was a public purpose, thereby giving the government the authority to acquire property, affirming decades of previous litigation on this issue, by the end of 2006, thirty-five states enacted eminent domain restrictions and related reforms of regulatory takings

In that year, voters rejected three of four state ballot takings measures. Most notable was Oregon voters’ repeal of the Measure 37 takings initiative. The defeat of California’s Prop 98 in 2007 signaled another setback for advocates of regulatory takings. Often dubbed Kelo-plus and Kelo 3rd Round, most initiatives seek compensation for lost value due to land-use regulation. To date, only one effort in Arizona stimulated by Howard Rich, a New York real estate investor and libertarian crusader has succeeded. But the bottom lines sought are central.  In most cases, regulation can be proven to increase value. In February 2008, the New York State Bar Association’s task force completed its recommendations on the use of eminent domain powers. 

Throughout the country, community organizations are raising money and filing proposed ballot initiatives with their state attorney general that prohibit the use of eminent domain for transferring property from one private entity to another without added protections. The eminent domain debate in New York should examine its long history of condemnations for economic development.  There are three areas rich with potential litigation in this light and a strictly legal perspective, including a referendum.  These are the historical uses of eminent domain, the fairness of direct and indirect compensation, and the targeting of low-income and minority populations.  Unlike other states, the one most likely to succeed in New York will involve added protections to residential and business tenants in reassessing just compensation issues.

Explore the tenant protection component to yield valuable community economic development objectives. Both sides might be more recognizable to the average research effort by viewing Georgetown Law’s work. The Scholarly Commons site helps to define hairline legal differences between “regulatory taking” and “eminent domain” in the proposed reforms of Oregon’s Measure 37.  In this case, the government becomes liable for attorney fees if the court award is greater than the initial government offer.

Headline: “Citizens call for reform of the reform.” Timothy Sandefur, Author of Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st Century America www.instituteforjustice.org This site has links to www.cato.org; Howard Rich is a board member (Cato).  He likes how the term “property rights” strikes a chord among voters. But, unfortunately, they also have a hot-selling t-shirt that reads, blight me. It all seems exquisitely hypocritical, but why?

Given the historically poor performance of government in protecting individuals in the short term for vague long-term benefits, the public’s opinion can easily be portrayed as a decision that betrays them — the small businessperson and working-class residents and limiting legitimate efforts to erase racially imposed economic disparities. But, the dissent of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is probably the best summary of the “feeling” and the “law” as follows:

“Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner. . . . Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory. . . . The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result.”

Sandra Day O’Connor

Policy Fit: Manhattanville?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image005.jpg

How about seeing INTERNATIONAL HOUSE as an example? Located at 500 Riverside Drive, 122nd Street) New York, NY 10027 www.ihouse-nyc.org. This is a stretch, but Columbia offers a very nice “extra-large” apartment with a private bathroom at $12,090/month and other less luxurious accommodations to full-time graduate students. They are available only during the academic year; undergraduates are welcome in the summer.  Applications are required if stays of 30 days or more are intended. 

Columbia is extending housing privileges to acquire social capital in the tuition business. Here is what Barbara and Howard Rich are among many large real estate holders who support university-sponsored Fulbright Scholarships and the programmed-education with the housing market in New York City. Almost every university in New York City is a sponsor of this program as it brings in high paying clients (students of all ages) to the fold. Via: www.metrointl.org.  Surprise!  Manhattanville is a max hit zone for housing such as the above. The neighborhood is a Motel 6, and Columbia is the Ritz-Carlton.

In June 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, upheld the use of eminent domain by the city of New London, CT. (Kelo vs. City of New London) by saying economic development was a public purpose, thereby giving the government the authority to acquire property, affirming decades of previous litigation on this issue, by the end of 2006, thirty-five states enacted eminent domain restrictions and related reforms of regulatory takings

In that year, voters rejected three of four state ballot takings measures. Most notable was Oregon voters’ repeal of the Measure 37 takings initiative. The defeat of California’s Prop 98 in 2007 signaled another setback for advocates of regulatory takings. Often dubbed Kelo-plus and Kelo 3rd Round, most initiatives seek compensation for lost value due to land-use regulation. To date, only one effort in Arizona stimulated by Howard Rich, a New York real estate investor and libertarian crusader, has succeeded. But the bottom lines sought are central.  In most cases, regulation can be proven to increase value. In February 2008, the New York State Bar Association’s task force completed its recommendations on the use of eminent domain powers. 

Throughout the country, community organizations are raising money and filing proposed ballot initiatives with their state attorney general that prohibit the use of eminent-domain for transferring property from one private entity to another without added protections. The eminent domain debate in New York should examine its long history of condemnations for economic development.  There are three areas rich with potential litigation in this light and a strictly legal perspective, including a referendum.  These are the historical uses of eminent domain, the fairness of direct and indirect compensation, and the targeting of low-income and minority populations.  Unlike other states, the one most likely to succeed in New York will involve added protections to residential and business tenants in reassessing just compensation issues.

Explore the tenant protection component to yield valuable community economic development objectives. Both sides might be more recognizable to the average research effort by viewing Georgetown Law’s work. The Scholarly Commons site helps to define hairline legal differences between “regulatory taking” and “eminent domain” in the proposed reforms of Oregon’s Measure 37.  In this particular case, the government becomes liable for attorney fees if the court award is greater than the initial government offer.

Headline: “Citizens call for reform of the reform.” Timothy Sandefur, Author of Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st Century America www.instituteforjustice.org This site has links to www.cato.org; Howard Rich is a board member (Cato).  He likes how the term “property rights” strikes a chord among voters.  They also have a hot-selling t-shirt that reads, blight me. It all seems exquisitely hypocritical, but why?

Given the historically poor performance of government in protecting individuals in the short term for vague long term benefits, the public’s opinion can easily be portrayed as a decision that betrays them — the small businessperson and working-class residents, as well as limit legitimate efforts to erase racially imposed economic disparities. But, the dissent of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is probably the best summary of the “feeling” and the “law” as follows:

“Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner. . . . Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory. . . . The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result.”

Sandra Day O’Connor

Policy Fit?

How about seeing INTERNATIONAL HOUSE as an example? Located at 500 Riverside Drive, 122nd Street) New York, NY 10027 www.ihouse-nyc.org. This is a stretch, but Columbia offers a very nice “extra-large” apartment with a private bathroom at $12,090/month and other less luxurious accommodations to full-time graduate students. They are available only during the academic year; undergraduates are welcome in the summer.  Applications are required if stays of 30 days or more are intended. 

Columbia is extending housing privileges to acquire social capital in the tuition business. Here is what Barbara and Howard Rich are among many large real estate holders who support university-sponsored Fulbright Scholarships and the programmed-education with the housing market in New York City. Almost every university in New York City is a sponsor of this program as it brings in high paying clients (students of all ages) to the fold. Via: www.metrointl.org.  Surprise!  Manhattanville is a max hit zone for housing such as the above. The neighborhood is a Motel 6, and Columbia is the Ritz-Carlton.

Is there any other way to look at the this? There must be a way to realign the forces at work here.