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Rena Leinberger installation in Queens New York
A bystander looks at a Rena Leinberger installation in Queens, New YorkNew York City Department of Transportion via Flickr

NYC mayor promises to build 1,500 cheap houses for artists

Maybe Boris Johnson could do with taking some tips from Mayor Bill de Blasio

While artists in London are getting evicted from their studios left, right and centre, the mayor of New York is taking a very different view. Bill de Blasio is trying to make things easier for NYC artists by building 1,500 cheap live/work spaces for those who are struggling to afford the city. 

In his State of the City speech delivered yesterday, de Blasio said that he wanted to give back to a community that had benefited New Yorkers and turned the city into a mecca for art.   

"We know that New York is the city it is today in part because of the contributions from generations of artistic visionaries who at one point struggled to make ends meet," he said. "So we’ll provide 1,500 units of affordable live/work housing for the artists and musicians who make New York culture so vibrant …. as well as 500 dedicated affordable workspaces for the cultural community."

"These folks bring joy to everyday New Yorkers; and inspire young people to pursue their natural talents in professions that often don’t promise a big paycheck. They also help make our city a mecca for tourists, and are one of the reasons why a record number of people – 56.4 million – visited New York last year."

The move is part of a concerted effort to tackle the price of housing in New York. In addition to artists, de Blasio has promised to provide cheap housing units for army veterans and senior citizens. 

"Nothing more clearly expresses the inequality gap – the opportunity gap – than the soaring cost of housing," he said. "If we fail to be a city for everyone, we risk losing what makes New York New York. We risk losing the very soul of this place."

Hear that, Boris?