The Fight for Affordable Rental Housing in 1980s New York: A Tenants’ Association’s Anticonversion Stance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article examines an historical case study of a moderate-income rental complex’s condominium conversion in New York City during the 1980s. Despite research suggesting that tenants desire homeownership, residents of Park West Village (PWV) waged a five-year battle against management and remained tenants in overwhelming numbers when two buildings were converted to condominiums in 1987. Using historical documents, I examine why tenants fought against local growth and rejected the opportunity to accumulate personal capital through homeownership. I posit that the Park West Village Tenants’ Association (PWVTA) garnered considerable resident support by engaging in three economically driven frames against conversion at the individual, community, and state level. Despite the clear link between urban growth and conversions, the process and local opposition to conversion has yet to be examined. This historical case contributes to research on tenants’ associations, affordable rental housing, and considers how widespread condominium conversion contributed to inequality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Urban History
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • New York City affordable housing
  • conversion
  • rental housing
  • tenants association

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies

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