The following Letter to the Editor was published in Newsday on September 11th, 2019. You can read the original version here.
There is no denying there is a marked need for more affordable housing options on Long Island. Our solutions have fallen woefully short in addressing this long-vexing problem.
For more than a decade, the desire to retain millennials has shaped developmental policies in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and we have little to show for it with the exception of luxury apartments in downtown hubs and pressure on local municipalities to further loosen zoning restrictions.
While many developers have argued that our region has a “brain drain,” planners have long contended that we’re experiencing a birth dearth, or a decline of birthrates. As such, retention of millennials shouldn’t be our goal, but instead we should focus on crafting a cohesive approach to housing that caters to the needs of all demographics, young to elderly.
Most important, we must ask whether or not our region can further sustain the intensive growth that many are advocating. The quality of our ground and surface waters continues to degrade, and our infrastructure networks are over-burdened.
If we don’t think holistically and realistically about the future of our region, we’ll see population numbers across all age groups drop.
Editors’s Note: The writer is an adjunct professor of economic development and planning at Stony Brook University.