Special Report

In Our Backyard

Development was long thought to be the engine of growth and prosperity in urban centers like New York, yet in recent years, the fear that such growth leaves low-income people behind has increased. Local residents and activists have a long list of worries when it comes to new developments: decreasing property values, increasing cost of living, obstructed views, rising crime, rapid gentrification, or loss of green space, to name a few. Proponents of development argue it brings an array of benefits including a larger housing stock to meet high demand, job creation, access to opportunity, and, potentially, more economically and racially diverse communities.

While people are familiar with high-profile examples of community
opposition to development, like Amazon’s HQ2 in Long Island City, in
reality these types of debates and discussions happen all the time. Few projects nowadays come without controversy, and opposition to
development at large seems to be increasing.

Does new development accelerate gentrification and displacement? How do communities reconcile creating affordable housing with other neighborhood and citywide priorities? How can communities reconcile different neighborhood needs, like housing and parks, when they all compete for the same finite amount of space? In Our Backyard looks to leading researchers, community advocates, and everyday New Yorkers to explore answers to these difficult and emotionally charged questions. The podcast was co-produced by Professor Yvonne Latty’s Reporting the Nation/New York graduate program and the NYU Furman Center.