New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Build Affordable Housing in Every New Development

Net Housing Change Map of Manhattan

As a person who’s lived on the Upper East Side his entire life, Ben's seen more construction in recent years more than ever before. Yet, a report in The City recently shared that despite all the new construction the Upper East Side actually hasn't made much gains in terms of net new housing units over the past decade.

As a software developer, Ben rolled up his sleeves and reviewed the data. What Ben found from this data is that for every new building that goes up, we lose multiple 4-, 5- and 6-story walkups with dozens of rent-controlled and -regulated housing that is truly affordable. In return we end up with sky high market-rate units that don't really add to many more units then were lost let alone add any affordable units over what we had. Of note, is that the buildings we are losing are low-denisty, with new buildings having 2 or 3 times the density, in a neighborhood that has the highest density in the country. If the increase in density isn't adding units, then maybe we need more comprehensive measures.

One solution that Ben has proposed before and that he would champion as Borough President would be to require developers putting up new housing to replace every single unit of affordable housing that they are destroying.