One reason the projects planned for the edge of the South Bronx aren’t likely to spread inland, gentrifying as they go, is that the area has the highest density of public housing in the nation. The Bronx has 44,000 such units, while Brooklyn, with nearly twice the population, has 58,000. “It’s harder for high-end gentrification to happen anyplace where the density of public housing is high,” says Gecan, who headed a project that built some of the first affordable housing in the post-1970s Bronx. “They just don’t go together.”
There is this too:
“Public housing is in a state of catastrophic decline,” Torres says, “due to a perfect storm of disinvestment. In 1998, the state cut off all operating subsidies; the city did the same in 2003. If a private landlord cut off funding for the operation and maintenance of his building, there would be legal consequences.” Federal funding has been greatly reduced as well. “The New York City Housing Authority [the city’s public housing agency] has capital needs of $17 billion to bring all its housing stock into good repair over the developments’ life expectancy. It gets $300 million a year from Washington.”
Those are from Harold Meyerson’s very good piece on the Bronx.