Gentrification in New York City: A Deep Dive into its Impact on the Urban Landscape

The consequences of gentrification in New York City are far-reaching and have had a major effect on the urban landscape. From skyrocketing rent to the displacement of inhabitants, the decrease in neighborhood diversity, and the decline of small businesses, the city's metropolitan area is flourishing but its neighborhoods are facing a variety of forms of displacement. Low-income residents' wages and housing policies have not kept up with the rising house prices, leading to significant demographic changes in the 31-county tri-state region. Just a few blocks from RCI, on Broadway, was the old Metro Theater, originally Midtown, an art house that dates back to 1933 and was one of the oldest operating theaters in New York.

Mayor de Blasio has since announced a new plan that includes 1,100 apartments for low-income New Yorkers, which is a positive development but not yet enough to revive hundreds of family businesses. It is rumored that the city controlled commercial rents for eighteen years from 1945 to 1963. Although New York is home to what is estimated to be the largest population of homeless people in the United States, other cities in the top ten are also generally seen as “success stories”. Hudson Yards, which is now nearing completion, is an immense project spanning sixty blocks along Manhattan's West Side. It is “the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States and the largest development in New York City since Rockefeller Center” and is developed by Related Companies. The arrival of container ships would have meant the end of New York's hundreds of miles of active shoreline and thousands of jobs it provided, no matter how hard the city tried to keep them.

Starting with Central Park in 1980, much of New York's park system was taken over by privately funded “conserves” that were supposedly subservient to the city government but had immense power and paid for everything. The design of new subway stations was subcontracted to various stars in the modern art world, most of whom are unknown to most New Yorkers today. There has been a growing interest in urban green spaces and urban resilience lately. The idea that “the rent is too high” in New York has been so deeply ingrained in its conscience that it became a one-person political party and a Saturday Night Live sketch. What is happening to New York now is happening in every prosperous American city.

Governor Cuomo, a Democrat, rejected Mayor de Blasio's proposal for a special “millionaire tax” to fix public transportation and instead offered a “great transportation challenge” with a million dollar prize for anyone who could make trains arrive on time. Climate gentrification has become an important concept for exploring how climate change governance and people's awareness of rising sea levels will create new geographies of housing and urban inequalities. Even those who can afford New New York may not like it or have much control over it. New York has had some form of rent regulation since 1943 and today almost half its 966,000 apartments housing 2.5 million people have stabilized rent; they are in buildings with six or more units and tenants cannot be evicted or denied lease renewal without due cause and their rents cannot be increased by more than a certain amount each year by a panel appointed by the government. Gentrification has had an immense impact on New York City, from astronomical rent increases to displacement of residents, decrease in neighborhood diversity, and decline of small businesses. This article explored how this phenomenon has changed NYC's urban landscape over time and what can be done to address it.

From Mayor de Blasio's plan for low-income housing to Governor Cuomo's transportation challenge, there are some positive developments that could help revive family businesses and reduce inequality. However, climate gentrification could create new geographies of housing and urban inequalities if people's awareness of rising sea levels continues to increase.

Beatrice Flesher
Beatrice Flesher

Professional web geek. Passionate food scholar. Subtly charming twitter practitioner. Amateur travel junkie. Certified beer junkie. Hardcore foodaholic.

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