The Balance of Affordable Housing in New York City: A Spatial Analysis of the City’s Assisted Affordable Housing Landscape …

. . . and Whether the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program Compromises the Potential to Achieve a Balance

M.S. thesis, Columbia University, 2012

Trevor Shanklin

“This study focuses on government assisted affordable rental housing development and policy in New York City. An initial survey of currently assisted affordable housing shares in the city sought to understand the trends of government sponsored developments to determine if there was a spatial imbalance of assisted affordable housing in the city. Pursuant to this survey an analysis of rental gaps between maximum rental ceilings as a derivative of area median incomes (AMI) and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, the most successful housing program in the expansion of assisted affordable housing units. Those found throughout the private marketplace were determined in an attempt to uncover inefficiencies in the LIHTC program that would compromise New York City’s ability to achieve a spatial balance of assisted affordable housing in the future.

Share of Affordable Housing

Share of Affordable Housing

“Findings show that there is a failure in the current application of the LIHTC program in New York where negative rental gaps were found consistently throughout New York City. This fact limits the ability for the city to satisfy its affordable housing goals of both the New Housing Marketplace Plan and PlaNYC 2030 in a manner that maximizes benefits for all stakeholders. Recommendations were presented that included a revised AMI calculation method and locational targeting measures that would assist in correcting these inefficiencies. ”

Citizen Scientists Map the Transit of Venus

Esri logoEsri Builds Astronomy Observations Map Application

Working with Astronomers Without Borders, GIS software company Esri has built a Transit of Venus web map application that instantaneously displays data from amateur astronomers. Using a free smartphone application, these citizen scientists from around the world will capture their observations of the transit of Venus in early June and have their timing measurements immediately published on a map on

“The Astronomers Without Borders relationship with Esri is fantastic,” said Mike Simmons, president of the nonprofit organization. “These technologies make it possible for everyone to take part in important astronomical events.”

Smartphone app.

Smartphone app.

The Esri Transit of Venus web map application, running on ArcGIS for Server, will work in coordination with the iPhone and Android Transit of Venus applications. This web application will show the following:

  • Where on earth the transit is visible and at what times
  • Tweets, pictures, and videos about the transit
  • Points of observations from the phone application with recorded and predicted times
  • An animation on what the transit looks like on the sun and which side of earth can view it

On June 5 or 6, 2012, depending on one’s location, Venus will pass between the earth and the sun. Through telescopes, professional and amateur astronomers will see Venus as a small, round dot moving across the sun. Since the eighteenth century, astronomers’ measurements of this rare event have been used to calculate the distance between the earth and the sun.

With thousands of people projected to participate in the 2012 Transit of Venus project, this may well be one of the largest crowd sourced mapping projects to date. The transit recordings will first be sent to the project center in the Netherlands and a few seconds later to Esri in Redlands, California. Anyone can add their impressions of the transit via Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube, and these social media items will be displayed on the Transit of Venus map.

Follow this Transit of Venus project as it’s happening on June 5 at

[Source: Esri press release]