Take the classic “dictator having his lunch flown in by private plane.” The issue here is not the engine noise, or even the misallocation of jet fuel/seat space. It’s the symbolic obscenity.
So while they may pay property tax, they don't contribute as much as a local would.
Municipal authorities that have to deal with completely hollowed out areas of town on the other hand..
>But the proliferation of these buildings is provoking a backlash amid a broader debate about affordable housing, megaprojects for the ultrarich and the city’s identity. Now, officials are seeking to rein in developers by proposing rules that would apply unusually large mechanical spaces toward a building’s height limit.
> [NYC's housing shortage] is caused by the erosion of the New Yorkers' purchasing power due to stagnant wages and the increase in average rent in the city despite robust tenant protection.
The article lists a half dozen other contributing factors, none of which are building height restrictions. Yes the wiki article is incomplete, but I think my point is demonstrated.
It sounds like part of the problem is that the space in these buildings isn’t allowed to be rented out.
It's really quite straightforward. Which part of the argument do you think is incorrect, and why?
2. It's not always profitable or practical to tear down a building. Tearing down a 3-flat and replacing it with a 4-flat, for example, would not be economically feasible even if it were allowed. Replacing a 3-flat with a 12-story building, on the other hand, would result in a much more productive use of the land, but it's typically not possible to upzone a parcel to that extent.
I think it is clear that zoning is a primary cause of NYC's housing problems, but I just don't see any evidence that height restrictions make up much of the problem (remember, the upthread claim I took issue with is "height limits are the only reason there's a shortage of housing").
Anecdotally, a lot of buildings for sale (in Brooklyn, at least) list both the number of apartments and the max it is zoned for. This is relevant because it isn't actually that expensive the reno a 3-apartment into a 4-apartment (no need to tear it down), so zoning ends up being the primary roadblock for people who want to do that.
This is definitely not true. I don't understand where this assumption came from and I cannot logically follow it through. Certainly 1) not 100% of building heights are livable space, and certainly 2) you cannot just extend one dimension of life (building height) and then assume that you will have created some economically usable housing.
> If there were twice as much housing, there wouldn't be a shortage
Again I don't understand this at all. The shortage isn't about the amount of available housing at all, it's about people's ability to live there too. And if you're just doubling the building heights, you haven't talked about wages or ability to live there etc.
> It's really quite straightforward
What? None of this is straightforward! This stuff is super complicated! There's no need to be so condescending and rude about it.
> Which part of the argument do you think is incorrect, and why?
All of it. I've explained above.
How is the housing shortage not about the amount of available housing? Wages don’t need to increase if housing prices fall as a result of an increase in supply. If the problem isn’t a shortage in housing, it wouldn’t be a housing shortage.
I also don’t agree with the commenter you were replying to; it’s a naive assumption that height limits are responsible for less construction. More likely, it’s hard to purchase properties, tear them down, and rebuild higher. This would be solved at least partially by what we call a “land value tax,” which incentivizes economically efficient use of the land .
The name of the problem itself oversimplifies the problem space. There are lots of scenarios playing out today where there is ample housing and still a housing shortage. A major problem is that often the houses available do not match the ability of the renters to pay. So you can have lots of expensive houses being vacant, and lots of renters with nowhere to live, and have a housing shortage.
> Wages don’t need to increase if housing prices fall as a result of an increase in supply.
What? Yes they do! Wages are already too low to support a normal housing market, due to long-term wage suppression of the middle over many decades. Wages definitely need to rise for this problem to fix.
Do you have a source for this? Sounds far-fetched. I can't imagine many landlords wanting to rent but unwilling to lower their price.
Yes it is. That's literally all there is to it. A housing shortage by definition means that there's not enough housing to satisfy the demand.
> it's about people's ability to live there too
People can't afford to live there because the shortage of housing has caused the price of housing to go up.
> This stuff is super complicated!
It's not complicated at all. Onerous zoning and land use laws have made it impossible for developers to build to the level of density necessary to support NYC's rapidly growing population.
No, it isn't, and no, it isn't. This stuff is a lot more complicated that you think it is.
> A housing shortage by definition means that there's not enough housing to satisfy the demand
That's not true. You need to mention that there are different prices that people are able to pay, and with wage stagnation being such a big issue for the middle class, you need enough housing to satisfy the demand _at each economic level_.
You can't just make a bunch of rich people houses, have them sit empty while there are homeless outside, and say you've solved the shortage because there's "enough housing!!" to satisfy demand.
> It's not complicated at all.
Yes, it is. You are being condescending, rude, and you are also wrong to boot.
> Onerous zoning and land use laws have made it impossible for developers to build to the level of density necessary to support NYC's rapidly growing population.
I do not agree with this at all. My fingers are tired and I have debate this point endlessly here. I'll be short: Wages are too artificially low for this to make any sense.
It's supply and demand. More available housing means lower prices.
Does it? I don't understand this, at all.
More available housing would also create more demand, no? More people online will see the lower prices and move to Manhattan, immediately increasing the price again, no? The situation is complicated. You can't just say "supply and demand" and think you've solved NYC's problems in housing.
ECON textbooks teaching students that every person is a financially rational actor and that supply + demand plays out real nice in the real world is supper dangerous. My econ textbook was wrong in a lot of ways and it's upsetting to see continuing oversimplification and massive condescension for these antiquated and not-real-world-tested perspectives on how to solve complicated urban problems.
By that logic, I could build a massive apartment tower in the middle of nowhere and people would flock to live there. China tried that - it didn't work.
Housing is a market just like anything else. In any market, if the price gets too high, competitors jump in to create more supply to meet the demand. If apples were $100 a piece, everyone would grow apple trees in their backyard and make a fortune until the prices came back down to a reasonable level.
So why aren't developers pumping out cheap apartment buildings left and right? Why aren't they buying empty parcels of land and putting up massive towers? Because they can't. Because local zoning laws won't allow them to.
This is an extraordinary claim.
For example, if the city uses zoning regulation to determine how long the fire truck ladders need to be, and a developer uses a loophole to construct a building beyond the regulated height, then the fire department isn't equipped to respond to all potential cases.
That the city is willing to provide bonus height or FARs is also showing how these height restrictions aren't based on any pressing concrete objective; the only one I know of is by the FAA: "the Federal Aviation Administration sets a building height of 2,000 feet in most U.S. cities to make commercial flights safer". In addition, while extracting more affordable housing out of "greedy" real estate developers is politically popular, it is questionable whether this is the most cost effective way to provide more affordable housing.
It seems this is an improvement for sunlight and space at street level. Rather than the sidewalk being against a massive wall of 10 story buildings looming over the streets you can have more human scale buildings and open space and a single spire reaching up out of sight. The narrow shadow of the spire will swing around like a sundial during they day, but its shade will move on.
Every piece of space is at a premium in Manhattan because density is so critical. Wasting that space should be disincentivized in every possible way.
A society which enables the rich to produce extraneous waste - literally making multimillion dollar luxury home spaces just to fill with nothing, so that you can skirt the law for building codes, and not even allow a person to live there - yeah that's offensive.
The rich should be able to buy things they like, yes. But of course it's offensive when the country has a housing crises and the rich are building houses that nobody is allowed to live in, just so they can get a better view?
I mean yeah that's pretty obviously offensive and a strong, real reason that people are opposing these towers - it's described in the article.
If having a building that high isn't the main problem then the fault is clearly with the building code, but with the developers or the customers.
If your argument is framed that the ultrarich aren't given enough choices in how to live in luxury, I'm not sure I'll understand the rest of your post. Yes the building code has a problem that is contributing to this issue, but let's get real here: The ultrarich are given all the options in the world. Not every option they choose need be so offensive to regular people.
A weakness in part of America is a weakness for all of America. It works this way with the outside world too - our housing shortages are part of a global problem. We are all in this together. Framing the issues that the world cities have internally as something that isn't a problem for people living elsewhere is just denying that we live in a connected society.
One groups problems affect the other groups.
> And the ones with the worst housing problems have the most restrictive real estate laws.
Do you have a citation for that? I don't believe it's true.
New York has a problem - we don’t. And I’m not going to solve their problem because they created the set of choices that led to it.
What makes America great is all of these cities get to make their own unique set of mistakes. Over time, we figure out as a whole what works and what doesn’t. Some cities can choose to follow that path or ignore it, but either way, it’s that city’s problem, not everyone’s problem.
I don't know the answers to those questions but its much easier to point at the rich buying ultra condos in NYC than it is to get to root issues in NYC. NYC is a high tax city in a high tax state with high wage earners. And the rich in NYC are still 100% the villian?
Is it offensive to eat anything besides bread and water while there are so many hungry people in Africa?
Does my eating of an apple actively hurt people who are hungry in Africa? No, it doesn't. In fact, over the long run it will help them, because I would live longer to buy more to buy more of their goods and support them economically in the future with trade, etc.
You know what would actively hurt the poor in Africa? Me eating bread and water and dying and being unable to help the world in any future way ever because I'm dead. Me choosing to have apples and peanut butter and other vegetables and proteins is so that I can live longer and improve the world more, with either open source software, general economic contributions, studies of the weather and climate to reduce overall risk, etc.
Choosing to live on a diet that would kill me is not helpful to the poor in any part of the world.
But does this building's existence with enormous effort put into cheating the rules, skirting the system, and catering to the exclusively epicrich actively harm the middle-class and poor living nearby?
Yes it does.
The rich who live in this building are not doing so purely to help others, they are not there to improve society, they are there and are specifically wasting resources with no benefit but their own view of NYC.
It's obviously a very different situation.
Apples aren't sold at cost.
You, through consumption, have created a market for apples to sell at a price that would never be had in Africa.
There's a simple solution for vacant property: tax it heavily.
For every year it remains vacant, raise the tax exponentially.
> anything at all
Please don't fake-quote me like this. I said nothing of the sort and it's offensive that you would reframe my words with an obviously false-attribution like that.
Oh, please. 432 Park is one of the biggest eyesores in the city. I wonder if that's one of their selling points: "Come live at 432 Park, the one building without any views of 432 Park".
But my biggest gripe (at least on mobile, maybe it’s different on desktop?) is why aren’t there pictures off the so-called wasteful spaces? Putting aside the argument that more space is needed for future batteries, let us see an example of what this actually looks like. That would certainly go a long way toward clarifying the wastefulness. I know what the outside of buildings look like, but those are the only pictures I see. At least get the outside of the problematic barbell building, or diagrams, or something!
Like most things in today’s society the reaction to this seems to be one of two: double-down on the zoning enforcement or eliminate it.
Why is filling a building with journalists and advertising industry people morally superior to filling it with equipment?
I actually quite like the way the nyt building looks but it’s definitely in the vein of excessive luxury. It didn’t need to be that nice, but hey it’s their money to spend! Too bad they don’t grant others the same courtesy.
The neighborhoods being built up into luxury towers no one lives provides no business to the would-be shops and galleries nearby, leaving them as empty as the streets around the High Line...
"Last March, beloved leather bar Rawhide at 212 Eighth Ave. closed after rent rose from $15,000 to $27,000 a month. Close to a year later, it remains vacant.", from 2014,
There's other articles along the same lines if you google 'empty storefronts high line nyc'
If technical space was counted then the building would be 1/4 shorter? Could be.
In the grand scheme of things you can certainly debate housing that sits empty, but that doesn't seem to be the main problem in lack of stock. Your neighborhood NIMBY that doesn't want affordable construction in affordable neighbourhoods seems to have a bigger impact than just tall towers for millionaires.