STUDIO | 2018-2019
Under The Radar: Community Development & The Future of NYCHA
At the beginning of the studio, the group conducted a detailed analysis of possible funding initiatives that NYCHA could undertake to address the budget shortfall: RAD, infill development, community land trusts, land value capture, the selling of air rights, and limited equity cooperatives. They rated these solutions using a rubric with five tenets: protections for existing tenants, scale-ability, capital generation, long-term preservation, and equity and empowerment. Of these solutions, RAD scored highly on some of these measures but scored more poorly with regard to protections for existing tenants.
The excessive focus on NYCHA’s capital budget can draw attention away from the lived experiences of NYCHA’s residents and the larger goal of preserving NYCHA’s public housing stock, which many community organizations, including community development corporations (CDCs), are highly invested in supporting. NYCHA’s capital needs come as a result of decades of disinvestment and lack of political importance placed on lower income people of color. In order to understand the issue, the studio spoke with affordable housing experts and activists within and outside of NYC. In addition to the studio’s final report, the studio’s stakeholder and expert engagement efforts culminated in a public-facing RAD panel discussion with affordable housing experts that the studio hosted at the Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work. The event highlighted the significant barriers that smaller, neighborhood-specific community groups (such as local CDCs) would experience if they tried to respond to NYCHA’s RAD Request for Proposals, leaving the future of public housing largely in the hands of larger developers. With an eye to this, the studio created recommendations for CDCs and NYCHA to help encourage participation by smaller, community-based organizations in the future of RAD and public housing.
What is RAD, and What Does it Mean for the Future of NYCHA? (DiPrinzio, H., CityLimits.org, April 24, 2019).