Building for the Future
This Year in New York City
2001 will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most extraordinary years in thehistory of the City of New York. On the morning of September 11
– the primary electionday on which voters would begin to elect a new Mayor and an almost entirely new set ofgovernment leaders – a terrorist attack destroyed the World Trade Center complex andkilled thousands of people. The unimaginable scope of the destruction horrified us all,and was mitigated only by the heroism and resolve of New York's uniformed servicesand citizens as they met the crisis head-on.In the wake of this tragedy, New York'snew leaders now face unprecedentedchallenges. They must rebuild downtown,meet critical security needs and restore asense of normalcy and well being withoutundermining the City’s fiscal health andeconomic competitiveness. At the sametime, they must confront a number ofperennial issues, like education, thatcontinue to elude consensus.
"… Michael R. Bloomberg said the cityshould embark on a huge housingconstruction project, to make itattractive to corporations that mightotherwise be tempted to leave. 'You canmake the case that we need housingmore than we need office space,' hesaid."-
New York Times
, September 20, 2001
Before the events of September 11
, one issue had become so pressing that it affectedvirtually all New Yorkers: the severe and growing shortage of affordable housing. Thisshortage already impacted New York in myriad way increasing homelessness, forcingmiddle class families to abandon the city and complicating the ability of employers – corporations, nonprofits and public agencies -- to attract qualified employees. In theface of the World Trade Center tragedy and the economic downturn it exacerbated, theaffordable housing shortage is a significant threat to New York City’s economicrecovery.
Rebuilding New York and the Challenge of Affordable Housing
Without question, the top priority for the next mayor will be to rebuild New York,restoring what was physically and economically damaged or destroyed in theSeptember 11
attacks. Taken alone, the challenge of rebuilding on the World TradeCenter site and repairing the damaged infrastructure is daunting. But rebuilding mustgo farther: it must fundamentally reaffirm the sense of security and confidence that allNew Yorkers have in the city they call home. Without that, we face an exodus of jobsand workers that will devastate our economy and tear apart the social fabric.