Best Laid Plans
Affordable Housing or Lack Thereof
From his corner office on the 35th floor of the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building downtown, Adolfo Carrion could once survey much of his domain. The regional administrator for HUD Region 2, Mr. Carrion was responsible for the federal government’s housing and urban development projects in New York and New Jersey. Stretching out before the floor-to-ceiling windows is lower Manhattan. Brooklyn and Queens are off to the left. Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty peek out from behind the towers of downtown. Out across the harbor to the right is Jersey City and, off in the distance, Newark. Glory and destitution in one vista.
Peering down, it is easy to see a century’s worth of transformational urban development. The redbrick monoliths of the New York Housing Authority, the brainchild of Robert Moses and the WPA, abound. Idyllic towers propagated by LaGuardia, Rockefeller, Lindsay and a thousand other urban dreamers, these are the projects that deteriorated into The Projects. Ringing the Battery and over the bridges to Long Island are the FDR, the West Side Highway, the BQE and the rest of Moses’s great interstate network. After four decades, Battery Park City is nearly complete, built on the landfill dredged up by the World Trade Center. More than $20 billion in Liberty bonds is at work rebuilding the Trade Center and other pieces of lower Manhattan, ravaged on 9/11.
Yet for all this work, it is hard to recognize a marquee project, a bright shining beacon of the Obama administration on the scale of those that came before.
At $60 to power a 100-watt light blub, solar energy isn’t cheap. Neither are the locally grown foods at the weekly farmer’s market. But with the help of some coveted stimulus money, environmentally sustainable living is no longer a luxury for 200 Harlem families. A row of 10 apartment building on West 135th Street have just been transformed by Jonathan Rose Companies, the first such project to benefit from H.U.D.’s Green Retrofit Program.
There’s just one little wrinkle to Barack Obama’s $30 billion small-business loan program: Small businesses may not want loans, and small banks don’t want to lend.
The bill, which has passed the House and now only needs Obama’s signature to become a full-on law, would provide billions of dollars to local banks to Read More
After a long period of stagnation on the issue, the Senate today passed a bill that hopes to help small businesses by reducing their taxes and get them better access to loans. Democrats liked the $30 billion package because they wanted to seem as though they were creating jobs ahead of the midterm Read More
In keeping with similar U.S. findings by the Federal Reserve yesterday, international economic-studies group the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says that the worldwide recovery is slowing down. If the slowdown in growth persists and points to another economic contraction, the OECD says, governments need to ramp up monetary stimulus in Read More
If even Japan, which is by now well acclimated to economic stagnation, is breaking open its coffers for a round of government-funded economic stimulation, why can’t the U.S. take another Treasury-funded romp into the private sector?
Such is the question raised today by Bloomberg’s Liz Capo McCormick and Susanne Walker. They contend that, with the Read More
Some of us believe environmental sustainability can be a central element of the revival of the American economy. Some think this idea is mushy-headed, idealistic nonsense that should be rejected by hard-nosed business leaders. Wal-Mart, perhaps the best-known example of a company that has done well by doing good, provides evidence of how green business Read More