Segments in this Video

Vanishing Neighborhoods (03:37)


New York is a city of competition, achievement, and luxury. Re-zoning has made neighborhoods much less affordable and the city is losing its energy and character. Residents describe changes in their communities since luxury buildings were erected. (Credits)

New York City - 1975 (03:25)

When NYC was on the verge of fiscal crisis, it shifted its economic emphasis to a white collar business model, giving tax breaks to large corporations in hopes of avoiding outsourcing. Bettina Damiani and Jonathan Bowles explain that this is an unwise business practice because of the global economy.

Market-Rate Development (04:39)

When NYC was facing bankruptcy, the government created policies to encourage luxury development. These strategies stayed in place even after massive economic growth in the 1990s. Tax program 421-a allows real estate developers to be taxed at the initial purchase rate of a property provided they build luxury residences.

New York City Is Not Wal-Mart (02:44)

Julian Brash and Fred Siegel discuss Mayor Michael Bloomberg's vision of NYC as a "luxury city." In 2002, the city set a population record and administrators re-zoned blocks to accommodate more people. Andrew Berman explains that urban planning does not take into account population busts.

Reaction to Residential Growth Estimate (02:54)

Bowles is skeptical that New York city will have jobs and homes for one million new residents by 2030 considering how many of those people would be immigrants. The Bloomberg Administration only included a small percentage of affordable housing to legitimize its urban planning. Experts discuss how individual communities need to fight the re-zoning strategy.

Fighting Urban Planning (02:24)

In the South Village, residents protest the building of Trump Soho complaining it has no neighborhood character. Tony Avella feels that development needs to be an asset to a community and not a detriment. Dave Mulkins worries about the destruction of local neighborhoods in the south side of Manhattan.

Local Neighborhood Character (03:53)

Mable Tso organizes a protest to protect the nature of Chinatown by implementing a height cap on any buildings erected within the area. On 125th street, developers propose building 2500 luxury residential units within three blocks. Activists and community members caution against creating luxury enclaves.

Gentrification of Harlem (02:19)

The Record Shack is the oldest African American owned business in Harlem. Over 71 businesses will be eradicated if the 125th street development plan is passed— Sikhulu Shange created the Coalition to Save Harlem. Columbia University plans for expansion will displace at least 5,000 Harlem residents.

Columbia University Plan for Expansion (03:32)

Nellie Hester Bailey attends a town meeting where she complains about Harlem redevelopment. Protesters gather to complain about eminent domain abuses. Tony Avella feels expropriating another's property and giving it to a developer is unconstitutional.

Willets Point (04:24)

New York City wants to raise the "Iron Triangle" and build a convention center in Queens. Julian Brash feels that the construction is driven by the desire for a luxury city not out of necessity. Jake Bono talks about government abuse of eminent domain.

Displaced People (02:47)

Christopher Murray describes the psychological toll displacement takes upon the individuals affected. Glick and Berman discuss loopholes in rent regulation. Philip Van Aver explains that it is now easier to evict a tenant over the age of 65.

Mass Eviction (02:39)

David Pultz lived in his apartment for thirty years when he received a letter of non-renewal from his landlord. After four years of fighting the edict, the court of appeals sided with the landlord, who claimed he wanted to convert all 15 units into a mansion for his family. All tenants were forced to vacate.

Legal Loopholes (02:50)

Melissa Mark Viverito describes an international British firm which acquired 50 rent stabilized buildings with a plan to force out its tenants. Brian Kavanaugh explains that loopholes encourage pernicious behavior. Glick calls the strategy legal but immoral.

"Owners Use" Loophole (03:53)

Owners can evict tenants and renovate or demolish a building. Louis DiLauro discusses how his taxes have increased by 35-40% since he purchased his building and he can no longer afford upkeep. Angotti describes how large land developers destroy local neighborhoods.

New York - 2008 (02:41)

When the stock market crashed, construction ceased in NYC. Luxury apartments stood vacant or unfinished. Experts discuss why luxury model failed and the need to diversify the economy.

Widening Economic Gap (04:24)

In forty years, blue collar jobs have diminished by 30% in NYC. Saskia Sassen discusses how the city tends to generate only high and low income jobs. Experts and residents discuss compromising the character of New York City— 8% of the housing units created will be affordable for New York City Residents

Credits: The Vanishing City (02:13)

Credits: The Vanishing City

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The Vanishing City

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As cities become more interconnected, and less dependent on localized economic models, domestic issues of increased class inequality and sustainability have emerged as central components to city planning debates. These trends are perhaps best exemplified in the city of New York. Told through the eyes of tenants, city planners, business owners, scholars, and politicians, this film exposes the real politic behind the alarming disappearance of New York’s beloved neighborhoods, the truth about its finance-dominated economy, and the myth of “inevitable change.” Artfully documented through interviews, hearings, demonstrations, and archival footage, the film takes a sober look at the city’s “luxury” policies and high-end development, the power role of the elite, and accusations of corruption surrounding land use and rezoning. The film also links New York trends to other global cities where multinational corporations continue to victimize the middle and working classes.

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL118705

ISBN: 978-1-63521-534-2

Copyright date: ©2010

Closed Captioned

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