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Affordable Housing in New York:
The People, Places, and Policies That Transformed a City
Edited by Nicholas Dagen Bloom & Matthew Gordon Lasner

“Book Title of the Year,” as selected for’s Architecture in 2015: A Year in Review

Hardcover | 2015 | $39.95 | £32.95 | ISBN: 9780691167817
336 pp. | 7 x 10 | 224 halftones.
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How has America's most expensive and progressive city helped its residents to live? Since the nineteenth century, the need for high-quality affordable housing has been one of New York City’s most urgent issues. Affordable Housing in New York explores the past, present, and future of the city’s pioneering efforts, from the 1920s to the major initiatives of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The book examines the people, places, and policies that have helped make New York livable, from early experiments by housing reformers and the innovative public-private solutions of the 1970s and 1980s to today’s professionalized affordable housing industry. More than two dozen leading scholars tell the story of key figures of the era, including Fiorello LaGuardia, Robert Moses, Jane Jacobs, and Ed Koch. Over twenty-five individual housing complexes are profiled, including Queensbridge Houses, America’s largest public housing complex; Stuyvesant Town; Co-op City; and recent additions like Via Verde. Plans, models, archival photos, and newly commissioned portraits of buildings and tenants put the efforts of the past century into social, political, and cultural context and look ahead to future prospects for below-market subsidized housing.

A richly illustrated, dynamic portrait of an evolving city, this is a comprehensive and authoritative history of public and middle-income housing in New York and contributes significantly to contemporary debates on how to enable future generations of New Yorkers to call the city home.

Contributors include: Matthias Altwicker, Hilary Ballon, Lizabeth Cohen, Andrew S. Dolkart, Peter Eisenstadt, Richard Greenwald, Christopher Klemek, Jeffrey A. Kroessler, Nancy H. Kwak, Nadia A. Mian, Annemarie Sammartino, David Schalliol, Susanne Schindler, David Smiley, Jonathan Soffer, Fritz Umbach, and Samuel Zipp.

Featured housing complexes include: Amalgamated Cooperative Apartments • Amsterdam Houses • Bell Park Gardens • Boulevard Gardens • Co-op City • East River Houses • Eastwood • Harlem River Houses • Hughes House • Jacob Riis Houses • Johnson Houses • Marcus Garvey Village • Melrose Commons • Nehemiah Houses • Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments • Penn South • Queensbridge Houses • Queensview • Ravenswood Houses • Riverbend Houses • Rochdale Village • Schomburg Plaza • Starrett City • Stuyvesant Town • Sunnyside Gardens • Twin Parks • Via Verde • West Side Urban Renewal Area • West Village Houses • Williamsburg Houses

Nicholas Dagen Bloom is associate professor of social science and director of the Urban Administration program at New York Institute of Technology. His books include Public Housing That Worked: New York in the Twentieth Century. Matthew Gordon Lasner is associate professor of urban studies and planning at Hunter College, City University of New York. He is the author of High Life: Condo Living in the Suburban Century.


"From a housing act in 1926 to the sustainable design of Via Verde in 2012, this history painstakingly lays out the mixed success of the city's efforts to provide for its less privileged."--Avinash Rajagopal, Metropolis

"[Affordable Housing in New York] chronicles each below-market subsidized housing project ever built in the city--an overview of the push and pull between politics and market forces. . . . The research of multiple scholars is tidily collected."--Cassie Owens, NextCity

"This is no dull study of methodologies for assorted programs. The book brings idealistic characters to life--from Fiorella LaGuardia to Alfred Smith, Clarence Stein, Robert Moses, Ed Logue, and Jane Jacobs--as well as lesser known, often female, pioneering housing advocates. . . . [E]ssential."--Jayne Merkel, Architectural Record

"The historically minded book celebrates New York City's best efforts at providing low-income families a high-quality place to live. . . . Adding extra visual depth is a standout section of images by photographer and sociology professor David Schalliol at developments like Co-op City in the Bronx."--Surface

"A gorgeous tome of essays."--Kai Wright, There Goes the Neighborhood podcast

"A book worth reading even for those with only a marginal interest in housing policies, because it paints a comprehensive picture of the people, places, and policies that have truly transformed a city."--Raluca Moldovan, ABC Journal

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