East Harlem: Rezoned for Displacement?

Lakeisha Sparrow, Fordham University


This thesis is focused on the affordable housing crisis in New York City and more specifically, in East Harlem, a working-class community comprised primarily of Latino and African Americans. Since the 1960s and 1970s, the neighborhood has experienced significant public and private disinvestment by the local government and private developers. As the affordable housing crises continued to plague the city, in 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled the Housing New York plan. The aggressive plan sought to create and preserve 240,000 affordable and market-rate housing units across all five boroughs. As part of the plan, the Department of City Planning identified proposed rezonings for five NYC neighborhoods, to include East Harlem. In the wake of the proposed plan, residents and stakeholders pushed back fearing the threat of the pressures of residential displacement due to impending gentrification and crafted the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, a community-based plan that outlined future growth and development of the neighborhood. This research analyzes the city’s housing plan and identifies the policies and protections the city implemented to reduce the impact, if any, of gentrification and residential displacement in East Harlem. Additionally, the study addresses how stakeholders, including grassroots organizations, residents and local elected officials intervened in the planning process to organize to defend their community.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Sparrow, Lakeisha, "East Harlem: Rezoned for Displacement?" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13424915.