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Removing Regulatory Barriers: One City’s Experience

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Publication Date: September 2005

Publisher(s): Furman Center for Real Estate

Author(s): Michael H Schill

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Social conditions (Housing)

Keywords: land use; Community and Economic Development

Type: Working Paper

Abstract:

The difficulty of developing housing in New York City is as legendary as its cost. The city has had a vacancy rate under 5% — the legislative threshold defining a housing “emergency”—for more than 55 years. More than one commission or blue ribbon panel has identified government regulation as one of the primary causes of the housing problem. Since 2000, however, an opportunity presented itself to finally make some progress in reducing the cost of housing construction. Removing regulatory barriers to housing development caught the interest of two mayors—Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg—and their respective housing commissioners.