Saturday, March 25, 2017

"Urban Centers Are Key to Bright Future"

Recently, Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress released its report Urban Action Agenda: A Program in Motion. Hudson is one of the twenty-five communities included in the study, which finds that "revitalization of the Hudson Valley's cities and urban areas is setting the stage to attract a new wave of residents and businesses," those priced out of New York City. 

Much of what is said in the study doesn't really seem to apply to Hudson, which is the northernmost of the twenty-five cities and urban areas included in the study. (The not-for-profit Pattern for Progress is headquartered in Newburgh.) Some of it makes you wonder how much time was actually spent in Hudson. For example, in the section on infrastructure, there is a chart about bridge conditions. According to the chart, Hudson has two bridges: the oldest built in 1905--that's the Ferry Street Bridge; the newest build in 1936--which has to be the bridge that carries Fairview Avenue over the railroad tracks into Greenport. According to the chart, both bridges are 50 percent "Functionally Obsolete" and 50 percent "Structurally Deficient." 

In Allison Dunne's report about the study on WAMC, Hudson was mentioned only because it lost population between 2000 and 2015. Click here to read the study in its entirety.


  1. My quick scan of the report is that it is disappointingly general in its content. But it does serve as a starting point, as to what is going on in other towns. There is not much mention of Hudson.

    As to Hudson, the report states that its 2015 population estimate was 6,572 (including the prisoner population). The census bureau however states that it is 6,436 (as of July 1, 2016). The 2016 estimate will be published by the census bureau in June.

    The population estimate for Columbia County for July 1, 2016 was just published. It dropped about 500 people in population, and is now down to 60,989.

    The population losses for Hudson and Columbia County have been accelerating over this decade. (In Hudson, excluding the prisoner population, I suspect by the next census it will be down to between 5,800 to 5,900 hundred people, about a 10% decline from the 2010 census.)

    As to Hudson, its population decline is mostly due to gentrification, which is accelerating, and of course creates a huge policy challenge for Hudson, with no easy answers. At some point, perhaps within the next five years, I suspect the population decline of Hudson will stop, and may well begin to climb again as part of the cycle of gentrification. That will happen when land prices in Hudson get high enough to support condominium development. In the relatively short time I have been in Hudson, land prices have really gone up. Land prices that were close to zero (the value was solely a function of holding an out of the money option that someday the value of a property after developing it would be worth more than the cost of construction). Today those near worthless lots may be worth as a guess about $25,000 to $50,000.

    The point of my going on and on here, as folks sometimes point out is rather a habit of mine, is that time is short for Hudson to fashion a sensible affordable housing policy. It is not as if Hudson has a generous supply of vacant land on which it can guide development. It doesn't. And once the structures in Hudson have been rehabilitated by private parties all over the city, they will not be available as a potential part of the affordable housing supply. We need to get moving, and moving now.

    1. The 6,436 figure for Hudson is as of July 1, 2015, not July 1, 2016 as stated above. The July 1, 2016 figure (which will be lower), will be published by the census bureau this coming June.

      New York State's population for the last year has flattened out, with the state actually losing about 3,000 people. That is mostly due to the slowing population growth for NYC, which now is merely offsetting the population decline for upstate NY that continues unabated.

      One thing that I do know, given the odd funnel shape of the state through Westchester County, is that our local Congressional District (NY-19), will be shred to pieces after the next census. The odds are is that Columbia County will be merged into NY-18 to the south, which will run into northern Westchester County.