The lack of affordable housing is an enormous burden on working class and middle class households and is a major contributor to the perpetuation of residential racial segregation.
In the suburban context, segregation is perpetuated through restrictive zoning rules that make the development of affordable housing impractical. In the New York City context (and in the context of some other cities), the lack of mandatory inclusionary zoning has played a role, as has the fact that large parts of New York and other cities have relatively low density (large areas where only single-family and two-family homes can be built). During the Bloomberg years, rezonings (as in Staten Island) intensified the problem.
Often, jurisdictions give preferences for residents of the neighborhood where affordable housing is going to be built are used. If a neighborhood is segregated (as are almost all community districts in New York City, then such preferences invariably perpetuate segregation, too.
Read our new report, entitled “They’re Our Neighborhoods, Too.” The report explodes the myth that most affordable housing seekers in highly segregated New York City insist on staying close to home.