“What architect isn’t interested in housing? I hate the whole blasted idea of it. I think it’s a worthy undertaking – to provide a decent apartment for a man who earns fifteen dollars a week. But not at the expense of other men. Not if it raises the taxes, raises all the other rents and makes the man who earns forty live in a rat hole. That’s what’s happening in New York. Nobody can afford a modern apartment – except the very rich and the paupers.
Have you seen the converted brownstones in which the average self-supporting couple has to live? Have you seen their closet kitchens and their plumbing? They’re forced to live that – because they’re not incompetent enough. They make forty dollars a week and wouldn’t be allowed into a housing project. But they’re the ones who provide the money for the damn project. They pay the taxes. And the taxes raise their own rent. And they have to move from a converted brownstone into an unconverted one and from that into a railroad flat.
I’d have no desire to penalize a man because he’s worth only fifteen dollars a week. But I’ll be damned if I can see why a man worth forty must be penalized – and penalized in favor of the one who’s less competent”.
Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead, 1943
In the wake of California’s now defunct redevelopment program and the 2008 real estate collapse, examples abound of demolished or shuttered buildings, where property owners received entitlements to build projects for which they had not secured funding. Sometimes, project funding was unlikely in the first place. In cases in which a project requires significant variances or zoning amendments, wariness is warranted that the project is a “trojan horse” – far different than what will actually result. The following is a case study of an active proposal, which has many of the symptoms of a trojan horse project.Continue Reading When is a “Smart Growth” Project a “Trojan Horse”? – Park Station as a case study.