Theses Master's

Affordable Housing Units Shrinking in the Shadow of Urban Development: A Case Study of Morningside Heights Neighborhood and Columbia University in The City Of New York

Bizimana, Soda

This capstone project holds significant implications for the ongoing urban development and housing affordability issues across New York City. It will delve into the relationship between Columbia University's expansion initiatives and the gentrification of the Morningside Heights neighborhood, focusing on the impact on affordable housing and the displacement of residents. By understanding these dynamics, we can work towards more equitable urban growth.

Using a robust mixed-methods research approach, this study will comprehensively integrate quantitative data analysis, qualitative interviews, and community surveys to examine the transformation of Morningside Heights. The initial research will involve an assessment of the current housing landscape, a zoning analysis, and evaluating the land use regulations. To understand the existing housing landscape, this research will compile an inventory of affordable housing units and current initiatives for affordable housing provision to formulate policy recommendations.

The expansion of Columbia University has led to increased demand in housing needs, resulting in rising property values and rents and contributing to the displacement of low-income residents and long-term tenants. This project will illustrate how the shift towards luxury housing developments, coupled with a reduction in affordable housing units, has exacerbated housing instability among vulnerable populations in the neighborhood.

This study focuses on the roles played by local government policies, community organizations, and university-community partnerships in addressing housing affordability and fostering neighborhood resilience. It sheds light on the interplay between urban expansion, affordable housing, and gentrification in Morningside Heights by amplifying the voices of affected residents and community leaders.

The insights gained from this case study will inform strategies to mitigate displacement and promote equitable urban growth in university-adjacent communities. This capstone study offers valuable insights for urban planners, policymakers, community advocates, and educational institutions seeking to balance development goals with preserving inclusive, diverse neighborhoods, thereby contributing to the ongoing urban planning and policy-making efforts.


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2026-06-01.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Woodward, Douglas
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 10, 2024