As part of his campaign, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to build and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing by 2024, and in just two and a half years, his administration has reached a short term goal of 53,000. Yet, Michael Kimmelman for the New York Times contends those 'affordable' units 'belong to middle-class Manhattanites in megaprojects like Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village.

Gowanus, a Brooklyn neighborhood including in rezoning efforts along with East Harlem and six other districts, is preparing with its own plan for affordable redevelopment. It hopes to take on greater density and affordable apartments in return for improvements and preservation of its district's soul.

In East New York, the first neighborhood the mayor rezoned, the city has paved the way for subsidized apartments and neighborhood improvements. But speculators have also bought property, driven up land prices and threatened some of the very residents the rezoning is intended to protect, fueling fears among poor New Yorkers that Mr. de Blasio’s plan will make neighborhoods even less affordable. In some cases, the relatively high price of affordable apartments may actually drive up housing costs.

Bridging Gowanus and East Harlem Neighborhood Plan want a different outcome, and are pursuing ways to give local communities stronger voices in the rezoning process upfront.

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