Housing & Development
I'm a reporter, researcher and fact-checker based in NYC. I write about urban politics and planning, housing, climate change, and inequality.
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Housing & Development
In the meeting room at Red Hook Initiative (RHI)-a Brooklyn community-development nonprofit dedicated to youth empowerment, social justice, and sustainability-a large painting hangs high up on the wall, bordered by the words "rebound and rebuild."
On Saturday, New York State adopted a massive overhaul of its rent regulations, enacting a historic tip of the scale in favor of tenants over landlords. The laws close a number of loopholes in the previous rent regulations that landlords have long exploited to raise rents and evict tenants-methods that have shrunk New York City's supply of rent-stabilized apartments, in particular, by tens of thousands of units in the past few years alone.
In New York City last week, anger mounted against the developers and city officials behind the Hudson Yards mega-development who financed the project through an act of what CityLab reporter Kriston Capps described as "creative financial gerrymandering."
After November, though, the Democratic caucus in the state legislature is much more progressive and much less beholden to real estate cash. And for the first time, they are feeling pressure from a statewide coalition of tenants.
In California and across the country, landlord groups are waging a disinformation campaign to squash efforts to make rent more affordable. On August 24, the tenants of two buildings near the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles received letters from their landlord notifying them of a rent increase of over $800 a month.
The high mortgage delinquency and foreclosure rates have persisted, said Aaron Scheinwald of the New York Legal Assistance Group. The foreclosure rate in New Jersey-parts of which were also hit hard by Sandy - is double the national average. Just last month, the state legislature passed a bill to extend foreclosure protection and relief programs for homeowners affected by Sandy.
Louisiana's coastline is disappearing at a rapid rate: Every hour-and-a-half, the state sheds another football field's worth of land, the oft-repeated statistic goes. But it's not just land that coastal areas of the state are losing. Between 2000 and 2010, parishes that were hit hardest by storms saw massive decreases in population-St.
On the morning of December 4, a crowd packed into the ornate council chamber of New York's City Hall to push their representatives to take the kind of aggressive climate action that the federal government has so far declined to do.
Cities & States
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images Democrats have slowly started to win back seats at the state level. But ALEC is doing all it can to make sure it doesn't matter. Last month, with the inauguration of a newly elected Democratic governor fast approaching, Michigan's Republican legislators made a last-minute attempt to ram through a bill to dramatically weaken public-sector unions.
Republican statehouses have passed a raft of preemption bills to prevent cities from raising the minimum wage, strengthening gun control, and more. In 2014, years before he became the Democratic nominee for governor of Florida, Andrew Gillum was targeted by two gun-rights organizations, Florida Carry and the Second Amendment Foundation, which threatened to remove him from his post as Tallahassee city commissioner over a pair of local regulations prohibiting residents from shooting firearms in...