A Solution for Israel's Housing Crisis, in NYC

Julie Sandorf and Jerilyn Perine have written a fascinating piece that offers Israel a way out of its housing crisis, and the beauty of the idea is that it is a hybrid approach, and one that has already been tried -- and found to be successful. Read the whole thing, but here's an excerpt:

The solutions to Israel's crisis will not be found in the 'Free Market' approach favored by the current government, or in a return to the country's socialist origins. Rather, the government should look to New York City, where a hybrid model of public/private partnerships has produced hundreds of thousands of housing units affordable to everyone. By combining public financing incentives that attract private capital, land disposition strategies to promote economically diverse communities, and a wide range of private and nonprofit developers to construct and manage properties, New York could well be the blueprint for Israel.

In 1986, when then-mayor Ed Koch committed almost $3 billion to rebuilding New York City's neighborhoods, city government was New York's largest landlord, owning vast tracts of abandoned buildings in the city's poorest communities. A housing strategy has been adopted by every mayor since (regardless of political party), and Mayor Bloomberg's New Housing Marketplace Plan is on target and on budget despite a struggling US economy.

NYC rightly understood that city-owned properties' real value was in returning them to the housing market in order to benefit low, moderate, and middle income households and rebuild entire neighborhoods.

The city's housing leaders used flexible land disposition strategies and public financing to ensure affordability to a wide range of income groups and tenure types within communities. The housing created is privately developed and owned by both for-profit and not-for-profit companies, and its underwriting was designed to ensure that a variety of households could either rent or purchase. Not only was affordable housing created, but an entire sector of builders, managers and financers became committed to the improvement of local areas.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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