To Mayor Bill de Blasio and Deputy Mayor Vicki Been:

CC: Council Member Margaret Chin, Council Member Carlina Rivera, and Borough President Gale Brewer

We are organizations fighting for housing justice in New York City, writing to urge you to build on the work begun by the Envision SoHo/NoHo program and commence an equitable, housing-focused rezoning of these neighborhoods that could be completed by the end of your term. Our city, which is by one measure the second-most segregated in the country, has long been a tale of two cities: Black and brown New Yorkers face higher rent burdens, longer commutes, more severe overcrowding, and were at higher risk of eviction and displacement than their white counterparts even before the COVID-19 crisis. …


The Department of City Planning is considering a rezoning of SoHo and NoHo, two of New York’s wealthiest and most desirable neighborhoods. At Open New York, we believe that the scale of the housing crisis demands a pro-housing approach.

We ask that policymakers allow contextual increases in residential density within the area’s historic districts, while also permitting denser construction in the surrounding areas. At minimum, these two proposals would allow 3,400 more homes than the status quo, with almost 700 offered at below-market rates. Half of those, in turn, would be offered first to local residents.

Upzoning for equity

New York City and the region as a whole are in the midst of a profound housing crisis, generations in the making. Homebuilding in the city has fallen desperately behind levels that are needed to keep prices stable — never mind drive rents down. The housing crisis is fundamentally a housing shortage: last year, the five boroughs permitted fewer new homes per capita than either San Francisco or Baltimore. …

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