The Brian Lehrer Show

Newsmakers meet New Yorkers as host Brian Lehrer and his guests take on the issues dominating conversation in New York and around the world. This daily program from WNYC Studios cuts through the usual talk radio punditry and brings a smart, humane approach to the day's events and what matters most in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, On the Media, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin and many others. © WNYC Studios


Mayor de Blasio: This City Needs a Better Conversation About Gentrification

Mayor Bill de Blasio joined Brian briefly to discuss his affordable housing plans.

Specifically, he addressed his most recent proposal to add another bracket to his rezoning plan, which will now offer the option to developers to set aside 20% of their units for affordable housing for people making (at most) $31,000/year.

"This will be the most progressive affordable housing plan of any major city in the country, because it requires developers to create affordable housing," said the mayor.

He expressed concern for creating affordable housing for people at all income levels - "particularly fixed-income seniors who desperately need more housing" - and acknowledged the need to create this units as soon as possible.

At one point, Brian asked Mayor de Blasio about one of his target neighborhoods: East New York. "How do you expect it to play out when people are still so afraid of gentrification?" Here's how the mayor responded:

"We’ve got to talk about gentrification more clearly than we have, and I think this city has lost an opportunity over the last 15 or 20 years to actually think about this properly.

Development is happening. The realities of gentrification are affecting us. The worst thing in the world is to do nothing about it, and bluntly that was the broad approach of the previous administration…and so when folks say, ‘Oh if we’re going to allow for rezoning it’s fundamentally going to change things,’ I think it misses the fact that things are changing already and there hasn’t been a coherent governmental response…

My answer is create a huge amount of affordable housing…I think people have to recognize that if we don’t do these things [like rezoning], you’ll see displacement with no countervailing action by the government."


 2016-03-18  16m