NEWS FROM THE HUMAN-SCALE CITY: MARCH 28, 2017

In the Issue:

  • Berlin’s Policy Measures
  • Why Preet Should Run for City Office
  • Women Activists & Adaptive Reuse
  • London Skyline Now & Then
  • Developers vs. Libraries
  • De Blasio’s Call for Contributions

 


 

BERLIN’S POLICY MEASURES

11Berlin2-superJumboSource: New York Times

Read the full article here.

People have been moving into Berlin over the past decade, attracted to the city because of its affordability and culture.  However, this has lead to increase in rent (sometimes up to 80%) and overcrowding while income remains low.  However the community has banded together and formed grass-roots organizations that are fighting these issues.  There are a number of policies use to fight the problems:

  • Right of first refusal: lets city officials intervene in selling property if they can find funding for the purchase (however this depends on city funding)
  • Rent caps: landlords can’t charge more than 10% over the district average for new rental contracts (there are loopholes though)
  • Milieuschutz Laws: Prevents landlords from doing expensive renovations that price out current tenants. There are 30 of these zones in Berlin and stop rentals turning into condos unless they sell to only current tenants for the first 7 years.

These are interesting policies that could be considered and adapted for NYC with some.

 


 

WHY PREET SHOULD RUN FOR CITY OFFICE

Funny, how Preet was investigating De Blasio’s ties to Big Real Estate, and then Trump fires Preet.
Preet is fighting against public corruption, “whenever corruption is on the rise, that means democracy is on the on the decline”.  We need people like Preet running our city.
Watch Preet discuss his fight against corruption in the video below.

 

Complete Video from the 118th CityLaw Breakfast with Preet Bharara

 


 

WOMEN ACTIVISTS & ADAPTIVE REUSE

19APPRAISAL1-articleLargeRead the full article here.

Greenpoint Hospital closed in 1982 and has been left abandoned for decades.  The grass-roots organization, Neighborhood Women, drafted a plan for the site back in 1983, which was ignored.  The Women wanted to turn the site into a nursing home with senior housing.  However, instead the city treated the site as a dumping ground and put in over 1,000 beds for homeless men.  Now, decades later, the city has plans to build affordable housing at the site.

Women are often the leaders in fighting for communities,”Though most go unrecognized, it is the neighborhood women who lead many of the community fights around the city.”  Neighborhood Women protested the BQE in 1972, and although they didn’t stop the demolition of the houses, it helped owners gain an additional $15k per house.  They also built day cares and senior care centers and fought for public housing, shelters for abused women, and against racial housing discrimination.

Women activists have always been at the forefront of communities and preservation.  It just goes to show that if we work together for fight for what we believe it, we can often succeed.

 


 

LONDON SKYLINE NOW & THEN

The Guardian posted a few before and after images of what London’s skyline looked like in 1616 vs. 2016. You can see all the images here.  Instead of churches dominating the skyline, 400 years later we now have a Cheese-grater and a Gherkin.

1280 (3)

 

screenshot-www.theguardian.com-2017-03-20-11-42-23

 


 

 DEVELOPERS VS. LIBRARIES

Read the full article here.

downloadPolitico reports that, “Throughout the city, libraries have become an increasingly attractive option to builders, housing officials and politicians looking for any square footage they can seize to construct new homes.”  The issue of libraries being turned into real estate deals is a major issue in New York City.  While library use has increased, libraries often need millions in renovations.  Since many are low-scale and in prime locations, it is attractive for the city to sell libraries for larger developments.

In Brooklyn Heights, the group Citizens Defending Libraries sued the city, in an attempt to stop the demolition of their local branch, but unfortunately were unsuccessful.  In addition, the citizens said the city made a deal with the developer that sold the land for much less of a profit than it should have.  Residents also believe that the costs need to fix up the libraries has been quoted too high, as a way to convince the public the need to sell.

Libraries are for the people and are much needed and desired.  In addition, existing branches, such as the Carnegie libraries are beautiful buildings.  However, the neo-classical and beaux-arts, free-standing libraries are becoming are under threat and need to be fought for.

 


 

DE BLASIO’S CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS

screenshot-mail.google.com-2017-03-20-11-49-33We wanted to bring to your attention an email about de Blasio’s re-election.  The email tried to use our hatred of Donald Trump to gain support of de Blasio.  However, he already has $3.5 million from big real estate names. And guess who will benefit if he wins??

The email was sent March 9, right before de Blasio avoided federal and state charges for trading favors for donations during his 2013 election campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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