Cities

Downtown Rising: How Brooklyn became a model for urban development

Downtown Rising: How Brooklyn became a model for urban development


02/22/2016

Of the many changes that have reshaped New York City during the past fifteen years, few have been as dramatic and as consequential as the emergence of Downtown Brooklyn as a major center of innovation, economic growth, and cultural development. This report examines the ongoing transformation of Downtown Brooklyn, why and how it has happened, and its implications for the borough and the city.

Race and the Housing Cycle: Differences in Home Equity Trends Among Long-Term Homeowners

Race and the Housing Cycle: Differences in Home Equity Trends Among Long-Term Homeowners
2016. Housing Policy Debate 26(3): 456-73.

Jacob Faber and Ingrid Gould Ellen
01/10/2016

During the past decade, housing markets across the United States experienced dramatic upheaval. Housing prices rose rapidly throughout much of the country from 2000 until the start of 2007 and then fell sharply during the next two years. Many households lost substantial amounts of their equity during this downturn; in aggregate, U.S. homeowners lost $7 trillion in equity from 2006 to 2009. Aggregate home equity holdings had fallen back to 2000 levels by early 2009. While this intense volatility has been well documented, there remain unanswered questions about the variation in experiences across racial groups, particularly among those who purchased their homes before the boom and kept them through the collapse of the market. Did this housing market upheaval widen the already large racial and ethnic gaps in housing wealth? Using the American Housing Survey, we analyze differences in the changes in home equity experienced by homeowners of different races and ethnicities between 2003 and 2009. We focus on homeowners who remained in their homes over this period and find that blacks and Hispanics gained less home equity than whites and were more likely to end the period underwater. Black-white gaps were driven in part by racial disparities in income and education and differences in types of homes purchased. Latino-white disparities were most dramatic during the market’s bust.

Preserving History or Restricting Development: The Heterogenous Effects of Historic Districts on Local Housing Markets in New York City

Preserving History or Restricting Development: The Heterogenous Effects of Historic Districts on Local Housing Markets in New York City
2016. Journal of Urban Economics, 92(2016): 16-30.

Vicki Been, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Michael Gedal, Edward Glaeser, and Brian McCabe
01/10/2016

Since Brooklyn Heights was designated as New York City's first landmarked neighborhood in 1965, the Landmarks Preservation Commission has designated 120 historic neighborhoods in the city. This paper develops a theory in which landmarking has heterogeneous impacts across neighborhoods and exploits variation in the timing of historic district designations in New York City to identify the effects of preservation policies on residential property markets. We combine data on residential transactions during the 35-year period between 1974 and 2009 with data from the Landmarks Preservation Commission on the location of the city's historic districts and the timing of the designations. Consistent with theory, properties just outside the boundaries of districts increase in value after designation. Further, designation raises property values within historic districts, but only outside of Manhattan. As predicted, impacts are more positive in areas where the value of the option to build unrestricted is lower. Impacts also appear to be more positive in districts that are more aesthetically appealing.

Does Preservation Accelerate Neighborhood Change? Examining the Impact of Historic Preservation in New York City

Does Preservation Accelerate Neighborhood Change? Examining the Impact of Historic Preservation in New York City
2016. Journal of the American Planning Association, 82(2): 134-146.

Ingrid Gould Ellen and Brian J. McCabe
01/10/2016

A number of studies have examined the property value impacts of historic preservation, but few have considered how preservation shapes neighborhood composition.  In this study, we ask whether the designation of historic districts contributes to changes in the racial composition and socioeconomic status of New York City neighborhoods.  Bringing together data on historic districts with a panel of census tracts, we study how neighborhoods change after the designation of a historic district.  We find little evidence of changes in the racial composition of a neighborhood, but report a significant increase in socioeconomic status following historic designation.

A Deficit Model of Collaborative Governance: Government-Nonprofit Fiscal Relations in the Provision of Child Welfare Services

A Deficit Model of Collaborative Governance: Government-Nonprofit Fiscal Relations in the Provision of Child Welfare Services
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 25(4): 1031-1058.

Nicole Marwell and Thad Calabrese
12/01/2015

Much existing scholarship on nonprofit organizations’ receipt of government funds appears to assume that there is something highly problematic about this relationship. Although rarely articulated in these studies, the concern about the negative effects of government funding turns on a view of nonprofits that privileges their private character. In this paper, rather than examining how public funds constrain private action, we inquire about how government deploys private organizations, via the mechanism of government funding, to secure a public good.  Using a case study of the nonprofit child welfare sector in New York State, we theorize a deficit model of collaborative governance in which nonprofits have been deputized by the state to secure children’s social rights but do not receive sufficient resources to cover the costs of securing those rights. Then, we connect this theory to organization-level financial management practices that pose challenges to the nonprofits of both survival and service quality. This nonprofit organizational instability concerns the state insofar as it threatens the securing of individuals’ social rights.

Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods

Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods
"Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods," NYU Rudin Center for Transportation, November 2015.

Sarah M. Kaufman, Mitchell L. Moss, Jorge Hernandez and Justin Tyndall
11/02/2015

Although public transit provides access to jobs throughout the New York City region, there are actually substantial inequalities in mobility. By focusing on the neighborhood level, the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation has identified communities that are substantially underserved by the public transportation system. The Rudin Center ranked New York City’s 177 neighborhoods according to the number of jobs accessible from the neighborhoods by transit, within 60 minutes and completed by 9:00 a.m. on a Monday morning. This analysis reveals high variation in levels of transit access across New York affect residents’ employment levels, travel modes and incomes. This report seeks to affect the implementation of new policies and transit services to increase economic opportunity for New Yorkers, and ensure that the transportation system is fully leveraged to connect workers with jobs. These improvements will benefit all New Yorkers’ access to job opportunities and economic mobility.

Beyond Bureaucracy: How prosecutors and public defenders enforce urban planning laws in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Beyond Bureaucracy: How prosecutors and public defenders enforce urban planning laws in Sao Paulo, Brazil
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

Coslovsky, Salo
10/23/2015

Cities need law to thrive but it is not clear how abstract texts become tangible policy outcomes. Existing research on the role of law in urban affairs conceives law as either an algorithm that shapes urban life, or a reflection of political disputes. The former assumes that the meaning of law is obvious; the latter claims it is irrelevant. In contrast to these views, this paper argues that laws are multipurpose instruments that acquire a specific function when enforced by those government agents who operate at the frontlines of public service. To understand what these agents do and why, this paper conducts a qualitative study of the Ministério Público and the Defensoria Pública in São Paulo, Brazil. It finds that these government agencies are not cohesive bureaucracies but heterarchies composed of distinct internal factions with different evaluative principles. Moreover, officials within them are not isolated from other entities in society but tightly entangled with them, and these connections influences what officials do. Finally, enforcement agents are not always resigned to solving conflicts as they arrive. Rather, they strive to find acceptable solutions in the interstices of existing conditions or even change the circumstances that created the conflict in the first place.

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