How Can NYC Cope with its Growing Population?
New York City, one of America’s most diverse, swiftest-growing metropolises accompanied by an ever-changing, competitive real estate market, is projected to sprout significantly in population. Therefore, city officials have drawn several plans to accommodate the additional residents, but they might be costly. Last week, housing experts suggested budget-friendly and effective ways to cope with the housing crisis during a Crain’s panel discussion.
With the city expected to add over half a million inhabitants, from 8.55 million in 2015 to 9.03 million by 2040, Mayor Bill de Blasio presented new housing, transportation, and education plans. Redeveloping certain neighborhoods and softening air rights laws are some of the improvements he wished to make. However, his strategies have received overwhelming opposition from both leaders and the public.
“We need height and density if we’re going to be able to create the city of tomorrow and to address a lot of our underlying needs. But look at how much the public got back in that equation,” the mayor said. “We need people to be able to see in very tangible terms how that pathway to 9 million people can be good for them.”
Various policy experts inferred that legalizing basement apartments and encouraging tenants to move to smaller units can create space for the future influx of residents. More than 50,000 basement apartments could enter the marketplace if they were made legal, according to Citizens Housing and Planning Council Head Jerilyn Perine. Twelve architecture firms proposed new infrastructure projects such as rezoning industrial areas to create affordable housing, re-purposing existing tracks to make a rail line, and shortening highways to expand eco-friendly types of transportation.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority predicted that the number of NYC’s subway users will double in the next two decades. To battle the rapid change, the MTA has decided to widen subway cars, build more lines, expand buses, and increase ferries.
New York City’s growth rate nearly reached 4 percent in the last decade. Five years ago, more people moved in than out of the city for the first time in history.