Waiting for cities to become affordable is like waiting for
a rich Mississippi slave owner to turn into a Boston abolitionist.
It ain't gonna happen.
Two articles reminded me of this issue.
The first article is about how the middle class in New York
is secretly happy about the implosion of Bear Stearns,
because now they may have a chance to buy an apartment.
For many of the city’s middle class, especially those in the creative class, who have felt sidelined as the city seemed to become a high-priced playground for Wall Street bankers, the implosion of the brokerage house Bear Stearns raises a tantalizing possibility: participation in an economy they have been largely shut out of.
Few romanticize the nearly bankrupt New York of the 1970s or the recession of the late 1980s. But if the city suffers an economic downturn, as many now predict, there are fantasies of New York returning to a pre-Gilded Age, before the average Manhattan apartment cost $1.4 million, SAT tutors charged $500 an hour and dinner entrees crossed the $40 threshold.
Andre Anderson, 34, an account executive at TheDeal.com, a financial news Web site, would like to buy a Manhattan apartment with his girlfriend, but he said their combined incomes still make it nearly impossible to afford one.
This article misses the point entirely.
In order for people OTHER than investment bankers to
be able to afford the city, social policy has to reflect the
vision for our cities.
This does not happen on accident. It is the result
of vision, planning and work.
Housing that costs between fifteen and twenty percent
of ones salary.
Access to high quality, inexpensive K-12 public education.
Support for families who work in the sub working class
who are a paycheck away form living in a shelter.
Factory worker moms with families, and 2 full time jobs.
Dads who work full time and attend school at night.
For more details about how this plays out read the
posts on Daniel Brooks book, Trapped.
Back to The Times article. It mentioned that no one
wants a 1975 New York, damn near bankrupt,
The Bronx Burning, etc.
What people want is a city where a social worker can be a
social worker and afford an apartment with one roommate,
Which brings us to Carrie Bradshaw. The other article in The Times
mentions how young women moving to New York City in 2008
looking for The Carrie Bradshaw Plan are quickly finding out
that the writers salary will not allow you the lifestyle presented
on the television show.
Yet young women coming to New York these days in search of Mr. Big, or at least the perfect Cosmopolitan, are finding that money and technology have altered the urban paradise that Carrie inhabited.
The city has become such an expensive playground that much of what Carrie and her friends took for granted — a Manhattan apartment, taxis for any trip longer than a half-dozen blocks, dinner at the newest four-star restaurants — is no longer easily in reach of a young woman on a budget, much less a young woman on a writer’s budget.
Apartment prices in the stratosphere, for example, never really made it to television. Carrie’s apartment, a one-bedroom rent-controlled walk-up in an Upper East Side brownstone, was hardly palatial, but these days it would be a Holy Grail in the world of singles real estate. According to the Real Estate Board of New York, the average rental for a one-bedroom apartment in a nondoorman building on the Upper East Side has jumped to $2,448 this year from $1,542 in 1998. It’s no wonder the singles scene has long since decamped to Brooklyn, a borough that even Miranda, who was compelled to move there in the series’ final season four years ago, found beneath her.
Egalitarian Cities, like any other equitable system,
don't occur on accident. Egalitarian cities most certainly
don't result from hoping that the investment bankers
will cut back on spending so the teachers and graphic
designers can scrape together a down payment on a condo.
Where is the agency in that?
Why do people wish for sh-t that they know
they WILL HAVE to fight for?