To the editor:
Before the cries of NIMBY die out, know this: I make my living in the building trades. However, the idea of just throwing up more rental housing — whether we call it “affordable” or not — means we invite those people into Riverdale with little to no commitment to stay and build a strong community.
Rental housing, with the exception of rent-controlled units (such as we have in New York City), is typically associated with transiency. Transiency is an inherent, but not necessarily desirable, feature of stable and vibrant neighborhoods.
Build affordable housing? If and only if the ownership component is present, for ownership typically means a stronger commitment to community building through resident participation in civic and religious institutions, local PTAs, and other vibrant expressions of a thriving neighborhood.
Ownership also means less flexibility in housing choice, but with an added benefit of more effort invested by residents in building a strong neighborhood.
(This is counter to my actual position.)