Opinion | How to Avoid a Post-Recession Feeding Frenzy by Private Developers

(NY TIMES) December 8, 2020

The last time New York City faced a cataclysmic economic threat, city leaders responded by cutting the social safety net and infrastructure investment, laying off thousands of workers and turning over public land to developers who got big tax breaks.

Those leaders have been called “champions” who saved New York City after it almost went bankrupt in 1975. But the austerity and privatization they imposed paved the way for the inequality crisiswhere the wealthy thrive and so many others fight to survive.

Wall Street, Broadway and SoHo boomed, but artists and average workers couldn’t afford to live here. Small-business owners started new ventures but were priced out of affordable commercial space. Immigrant families

worked hard but struggled mightily to pay skyrocketing rents.

So as the havoc of Covid-19 stirs the same dire warnings of New York’s demise as were heard during the 1970s fiscal crisis, history provides lessons in how not to respond. Fortunately it also provides a lesson for how we can rebound, using social ownership of land to help create a just, vibrant and durable recovery.

Source: NYTimes