Understanding housing policy, finance, and regulation is daunting. One must wade through a sea of acronyms, untangle public and private interests, trace knotty financial flows, and decrypt complex bureaucracies. Making heads or tails of all this can take a lifetime, but the need to understand is urgent. We all feel New York City’s housing squeeze; increased affordable housing is a centerpiece of our mayor’s agenda; and sweeping changes in housing and community development policy may soon come at the federal level. The Architectural League is here to introduce (or refresh) our housing proficiency. Housing Brass Tacks is an informal discussion series designed as a primer on big ideas and essential mechanics in housing policy and development. We’re getting down to brass tacks: the fundamentals that structure this unwieldy topic.
Housing Brass Tacks discussions are held bi-weekly on Monday evenings at The League’s office.
November 27, 2017
In our 14th Brass Tacks discussion, Mychal Johnson and Monxo López of the Mott Haven-Port Morris Community Land Stewards discussed the structure and benefits of community land trusts, and how they’re working to implement CLTs in New York City.
November 13, 2017
In our 13th Brass Tacks discussion, Andrew Reicher, executive director of the nonprofit Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), laid out the structure and advantages of limited-equity housing cooperatives as well as UHAB’s work to create long-term housing affordability.
October 30, 2017
In our 12th Brass Tacks discussion, Jenny Laurie, executive director of the nonprofit Housing Court Answers, helped us navigate the labyrinthine Housing Court system, shed light on the prevalence and process of eviction cases, and explain what a groundbreaking new right to counsel means for New Yorkers.
October 16, 2017
In our 11th Brass Tacks discussion, deputy director of New York City’s Independent Budget Office George Sweeting detailed the inefficiencies and inequities in the city’s property tax system and their effects on owners and renters alike.
October 2, 2017
In our tenth Brass Tacks discussion, Patrick Tyrrell of the nonprofit firm Mobilization for Justice will detail the impact of short-term rentals like Airbnb on New York City’s housing market and why a broad advocacy coalition has formed to fight these de facto illegal hotels.
June 5, 2017
In our ninth Brass Tacks event, mission-driven affordable housing developers Michelle de la Uz of Fifth Avenue Committee and Martin Dunn of Dunn Development Corp. discussed the essentials of the development process in New York City today in a conversation moderated by Jarrett Murphy of City Limits.
Read “Brass Tacks: Development,” a digest of the event published on Urban Omnibus.
May 15, 2017
In our eighth Brass Tacks event, we discussed social experiment of replacing high-rise public housing with mixed-income communities in Chicago through a screening of Ronit Bezalel’s 70 Acres in Chicago: Cabrini Green followed by a discussion with anthropologist Catherine Fennell.
Read “Brass Tacks: Public Housing Transformed,” a digest of the event published on Urban Omnibus.
May 8, 2017
In our seventh Brass Tacks discussion, Rasmia Kirmani-Frye, the President of the Fund for Public Housing, detailed public housing’s unique role in the city and how the New York City Housing Authorityisaddressing the continuing public disinvestment in public housing.
Read “Brass Tacks: NYCHA,” a digest of the event published on Urban Omnibus.
April 10, 2017
Representatives of the advocacy organizations Coalition for the Homeless and Picture the Homeless discussed homelessness as a symptom of our housing crisis and efforts to create permanent housing solutions.
March 27, 2017
Fair housing expert Fred Freiberg explained the efforts of housing advocates to eliminate housing discrimination, promote policies that foster inclusive communities, and strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws.
Read “Fair Housing for All?,” a digest of the event published on Urban Omnibus.
March 13, 2017
For our first Brass Tacks film night (more will follow!), we screened three documentary films that explicitly address the ways in which inequality is inscribed in the housing landscape.
Read “Discrimination, Documented,” a digest of the event published on Urban Omnibus.
February 27, 2017
A look at where the money to build and maintain affordable housing comes from and who are the main players in housing finance.
Read “The Money,” a digest of the event published on Urban Omnibus.
February 13, 2017
An overview of the past century of housing regulation and subsidy in New York City, detailing the tools used to create and maintain affordable housing: codes, regulations, non-profit ownership, and subsidies.
Read “Brass Tacks: Affordability,” a digest of the event published on Urban Omnibus.
January 30, 2017
A look at what the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s $49 billion budget supports, who HUD serves, and how housing policy born at the federal level is implemented at the local level.
Read “What HUD Does,” a digest of the event published on Urban Omnibus.
More topics and discussion dates to be announced soon.