Report Calls for Radical Rethink of New York Area Planning

Population density in the New York region.

A major report released today conclude that the New York region needs to radically rethink its approach to land use, transportation and school finance. The report was issued by the Citizens Housing and Planning Council and the Regional Plan Association.

The New York Times summarizes:

The report said the region needed to reduce its reliance on suburban single-family homes and begin promoting two-family houses, garage apartments and the redevelopment of cities like Newark, Bridgeport and Yonkers as future sources of housing, among other steps.

The report calls for mixed-income development around the region’s 300 transit stations (areas known as "transit villages"); the opening of rental housing in town centers to invigorate local shopping districts and add life to main streets after hours; and the creation of programs that link open-space preservation initiatives, popular with voters, to the development of higher-density, lower-cost housing in other areas.

They call for strong financial support for several proposed regional transportation projects that could create opportunities for "transit-oriented housing." They said the region’s major transit agencies should also have "stable, sufficient operating and capital subsidies."

 Download the full report (PDF file)

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    This report is great news. Transit-oriented development is perhaps the single best way to reduce car dependency and encourage financial health to the region’s transit agencies, reduce sprawl and reduce the need for expensive highway maintenance.

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  • Ananda

    The emphasis on property taxes is huge. I think that’s one of the single most important issues for the region – property tax reform and government revenue-reform in general. Property taxes create a perverse incentive for well-off suburbs to use zoning to exclude high-density housing and the low-income (and, by statistical extension, many minorities). It is also mostly responsible for the self-perpetuating cycle of better schools in the suburbs, worse schools in urban areas, and the effect that has on the reputation and population of the cities.

    While property tax reform is one of the most important issues for the region, it will also be one of the most difficult to solve. Especially given the political fragmentation of our region (3 states, many counties, many more municipalities with a home rule-tradition).

    And believe it or not, the issue of property taxes has a huge impact on transportation and street life, in its significant effect on zoning and development patterns and the incentives it creates for moving to less dense areas.

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