FAQ

Why organize?

Because New York has a housing shortage and the housing we have is incredibly segregated. There is not enough housing for everyone who wants to live here, especially in high-opportunity neighborhoods, and the movement within the city is often involuntary. You can tell because housing is expensive, vacancy rates are low, and the housing stock is growing more slowly than the population.

The cause of both the shortage and the segregation is political. Residents use restrictive zoning to prevent the construction of more housing and the integration of their neighborhoods, and rich neighborhoods do this most successfully. The solution to both the shortage and the segregation is political. If you are affected by the shortage and/or segregation, join us in agitating for more housing, especially in high-opportunity neighborhoods.

What do you want?

We want New York and its suburbs to allow more housing. More housing would let more people stay in their neighborhoods and open up the city to new people. Abundant housing would also lower rents, reduce pressure on gentrifying neighborhoods, and create more vibrant, walkable neighborhoods.

By “build more housing,” do you mean affordable housing?

We want more construction of both affordable and market-rate housing. Both are good and both are urgently needed.

The city should focus on providing affordable housing for those who need it most. If we allow more construction, fewer people will need help finding housing, and the city's resources for affordable housing would go further.

We can't subsidize our way out of a shortage.

New housing tends to be expensive in New York. Won’t new housing make NYC more expensive?

This is a common fallacy, but we believe it is mistaken. If you’re concerned about housing affordability, look at the effect of new market-rate housing on the housing market as a whole. New market-rate housing takes pressure off of existing housing.

If you’re interested in diving in deeper as to why, this article does a good job explaining the fallacy

If this sounds like supply-side (aka trickle down) economics, something you should justifiably be wary of, here's why it's not: supply-side urbanism is a misnomer

But new housing is billed as luxury, with expensive construction methods and finishes. Can it really be affordable?

Developers market all new housing as “luxury.” A restaurant can call itself “gourmet”, but that doesn't make it high-end. And even if it is high-end, that means fewer lower-end units being renovated for occupancy by richer people than the current occupants.

Are you secret shills for the real estate industry?

Nope! We are New Yorkers who spend our spare time trying to address a problem that we care deeply about. None of us make any money from our activities with Open New York.