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The city’s housing czar called the conversation around growth and development in New York City today “dysfunctional” and said changing that environment is one of the administration’s top imperatives.

“When we talk about growth, when we talk about bringing new jobs, when we talk about bringing new housing, we seem to fall into what I shouldn’t say in polite company but really could only be described as a bitchfest,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been at a New York Building Congress event.

The conversation, Been continued, is often “untethered by facts, grounded in nostalgia for a time that never actually existed and unburdened by the need to offer real solutions or to confront hard choices.”

“We have to change the conversation about how to move this city forward,” she said.

Development proposals in the city frequently face fierce community opposition, drawing concerns on everything from gentrification pressures to potential shadows coming off of new buildings. Those dynamics drew national attention earlier this year following the much-criticized announcement and eventual collapse of Amazon’s plans to build a new headquarters in Long Island City.

Asked if she’s concerned about the city’s business development climate in light of the Amazon exit and recent pro-tenant changes to the rent-regulation system, Been said the administration is “unabashedly pro-growth.”

“New Yorkers tend to be extremists,” she said. “It is neither the ‘give everything to developers’ world that some people claim, nor is it the anti-business bastion of socialism as separate nation that others claim.”

Published on

Aug 26, 2019 by New York Building Congress