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Subsidies Meant for Low-Income Communities Are Paying for Luxury Developments

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The Shed cultural space at Hudson Yards in New York.

In New York City last week, anger mounted against the developers and city officials behind the Hudson Yards mega-development who financed the project through an act of what CityLab reporter Kriston Capps described as “creative financial gerrymandering.” The state created a map linking low-income public-housing projects to the wealthy West Side neighborhood where Hudson Yards is located, in order to offer foreign investors a discounted visa option designated for those who invest in projects in distressed urban areas.

At the same time, a similar problem came to a head halfway across the country, when two community groups in Chicago filed a lawsuit against the city—the first of its kind in Illinois—for misusing tax incentives to facilitate the massive Lincoln Yards redevelopment project in the city’s north side. The groups claim that the city council violated the state’s civil rights act when it approved the creation of a subsidized development district in a predominately white area of the city—allegedly the latest instance of Chicago‘s persistent habit of administering incentives in a “racially and ethnically discriminatory manner.”

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