Vicki Been stepped down as Commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to return to academia. On January 17, 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Commissioner Vicki Been would step down to return to teaching at New York University as the Boxer Family Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Furman Center. Prior to her appointment, Been served as the Director of NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, a leading academic and research center focusing on land use, real estate, and housing.
Commissioner Been’s charge has been to implement Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York plan, which seeks to build 200,000 affordable homes in 10 years. Last week de Blasio announced that more than 62,500 affordable housing units had been preserved or created in the city since 2014—enough for 170,000 New Yorkers. Mayor de Blasio touted the 21,900 affordable units preserved or built in 2016 as the most protected in any one year for the past 25 years.
Commissioner Been was also instrumental in the citywide rezoning of New York City. With Commissioner Been’s support the City has implemented the nation’s strongest Mandatory Inclusionary Housing law, and the broadest overhaul of the Zoning Resolution since 1961 with the passage of the Zoning for Quality and Affordability law. Commissioner Been along with Carl Weisbrod—the outgoing Director of City Planning—authored individual neighborhood rezoning plans like the East New York Community Plan. East New York will be the “first neighborhood scale implementation” of the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program according to Been.
“We came in with a bold agenda to change the paradigm for how we grow as a city. We promised to produce and preserve more affordable housing than ever achieved, to reach New Yorkers at a broad range of incomes, and to work with communities to ensure neighborhoods are diverse, inclusive, and rich in opportunity,” HPD Commissioner Vick Been said. “We’ve changed the way we work to ensure that we achieve more affordable housing for every public dollar spent, and that our housing reaches New Yorkers who need it most.”
“With her signature brand of grit and grace, Vicki created and implemented our ambitious affordable housing plan. She is a brilliant public servant and law professor, and her students are lucky to have her back,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Mayor de Blasio has named Maria Torres-Springer to serve as the next Commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Torres-Springer is currently serving as the president of New York City Economic Development Corporation.
By: Jonathon Sizemore (Jonathon is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2016).