South Bronxites overwhelmingly support reparations for descendants of slavery, according to a recent survey. They want to see more public investment in recreation centers, with sports and arts enrichment programs. And, they feel that greater housing affordability and reduced homelessness are key to neighborhood safety.
These are some of the findings from the largest-ever citywide public policy survey, conducted by NYC Speaks, a public-private collaboration between the administration of Mayor Eric Adams, community-based organizations, and various philanthropic groups.
Data from 62,000 New Yorkers, collected over four weeks in January and February 2022, were released Tuesday, disaggregated by demographic category and zip code.
“We look forward to continuing this work in the coming months and aim to turn the survey results, Community Conversations and city staff ideas into actionable policy for New York City,” said Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright.
The survey collected data from 833 South Bronxites in the neighborhoods of Mott Haven, Port Morris, Melrose, Longwood, and Hunts Point (zip codes 10451, 10454, 10455, 10459, and 10474).
South Bronxites said that building more affordable housing and reducing homelessness was the best way to improve neighborhood safety. By contrast, increasing the police presence in the South Bronx was the next-to-least popular choice, among seven possible choices. (City-wide, that was the third-most favored option.)
In order to ensure ensure safe, quality, and affordable housing, South Bronxites’ top choices were 1) rent stabilization, 2) enforce building code violations, and 3) more affordable homeownership opportunities. Building more affordable housing units near transit was the least-favored option.
South Bronxites ranked high-quality recreation centers, with enrichment programs for the arts and sports, as their top public infrastructure priority. Other priorities included affordable high-speed internet, more parking space for cars, and public transportation.
Seventy-three percent of South Bronxites who answered the question about reparations “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the city should provide reparations to descendants of Africans enslaved in the U.S., compared to 58% of respondents city-wide.
To increase access to healthy food, South Bronxites’ top choices were 1) create more farmers markets 2) expand SNAP programs and 3) offer more options for healthy foods in public schools.
It remains to be seen how the multiple-choice survey’s results will be translated into action. The next step will be to hold Community Conversation events, where researchers will share results and solicit community comments, according to NYC Speaks Co-executive Director Dr. Shango Blake. A Community Conversation event is scheduled at the Highbridge Community Church on Ogden Ave. from 12-2PM on Saturday, April 9; you can register here.
Explore the data for yourself at nycspeaks.org/data.