City of Yes

Housing Opportunity

City skyline
Source: Mayor’s Photography Office

A city’s failure to produce enough housing has real and direct human consequences: high rents, displacement pressure, segregation, gentrification, and increased tenant harassment and homelessness, among other ills.

City of Yes Housing Opportunity is part of an inclusive, citywide approach to expanding and diversifying the housing supply, in which every neighborhood does its part to help meet housing needs and provide equitable access to opportunity for New Yorkers. The proposal would help meet New Yorkers’ housing needs with small changes citywide – including the highest density areas as well as low density areas.

What would City of Housing Opportunity do?

The City’s population has diversified tremendously in the years since zoning was introduced, yet the range of housing types allowed by zoning has gotten more limited. Many rules are rooted in a history of discrimination and exclusion.

City of Housing Opportunity would expand opportunities for two-family houses, accessory dwelling units, small apartment buildings, modest apartments, and shared housing models to meet a wider range of household needs and help combat the legacy of redlining and segregation.   

NYC should encourage and make it easy to build affordable housing. Our zoning rules currently  allow buildings with affordable senior housing to be bigger than market-rate buildings in most medium- and high-density districts – City of Housing Opportunity would extend this allowance to affordable housing for all types of residents including senior, supportive, and affordable housing for families with children.   

Conversions can give new life to obsolete buildings while addressing the City’s housing challenges. When older office or loft buildings no longer meet the needs of businesses, they can become the housing units of today or tomorrow.

City of Housing Opportunity would expand zoning regulations that facilitate conversions and allow them to create supportive housing and other types of apartments.

Parking requirements can make housing more expensive, disrupt pedestrian-friendly streets, or block a homeowner from adding an accessory unit for an aging parent.

City of Housing Opportunity will prioritize people over parking to make streets safer, and reduce requirements to enable more of the housing, services, and amenities that help neighborhoods thrive.

Homeowners can find that complex zoning regulations, many of which were established after their homes were built, make it difficult to make changes to their buildings. 

City of Housing Opportunity will streamline regulations and actions that enable one- and two-family homes and other small buildings to adapt and change to suit the needs of families over time. 

Why is this initiative needed?

New York City has not produced enough housing to keep up with the rapid population and job growth that our city has experienced in recent decades. As one example of how this hurts New Yorkers, more than half of this city's renters pay more than they can afford each month.

Even as our population has surged over the past four decades, housing was built at a much slower pace than was necessary to meet the need. NYC needs sustained, equitable housing production to address this housing shortage and bring rents down. Learn more in Housing Our Neighbors: A Blueprint for Housing and Homelessness.

This initiative advances key recommendations for fair housing and equity in the Where We Live NYC Plan. Where We Live is the outcome of an in-depth two-year process with over 150 community partners that identified goals, strategies, and the actions discussed here to expand housing opportunities for everyone.

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