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Mayoral Political Ideology and Affordable Housing: A Comparative Analysis of the Koch and Bloomberg Administrations in the City of New York

Jeong, Ji Hyeon

This paper examines the relationship between mayoral political ideology and siting decisions for affordable housing during two different periods in New York City. On the overarching goal of housing programs—the supply of housing affordable to low-income families and thus sustainable development—the United States government had endeavored to meet two trends: (1) the geographical and social integration of communities composed of households of varying incomes and other socio-economic traits, and (2) the encouragement of private investment, with the aim of reducing reliance on public subsidies. From the political-economic standpoint of urban theory, “distributive justice” maintains an emphasis on the development of affordable housing without residential segregation, whereas the concept of “economic efficiency” refers to promoting the economic development of a community in order to attract private investment. This conflict between distinct purposes of housing developments has been apparent in New York City. Given such conditions, two different mayors in office at two different times, Edward I. Koch and Michael R. Bloomberg, both confronted housing crises and presented large plans for addressing them. Koch, who was mayor during the 1980s, as a Democrat was concerned with distributive justice, whereas Bloomberg was a Republican whose political ideology was oriented towards economic efficiency. In this paper, I test whether the political ideology of the two mayors had an impact on placements in affordable housing, and the extent to which the housing developments that were built were oriented towards social integration or encouragement for private investment. Using regression analysis, I compare the characteristics of neighborhoods where the two administrations developed affordable housing units, focusing on racial composition, socio-economic factors, and property attributes.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Degree
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 17, 2015