From the NY Times:
To reverse the flow of younger people leaving Staten Island, the borough should entice developers to build more affordable apartments close to the ferry, according to a study released yesterday.
The St. George neighborhood near the ferry to Manhattan is the closest thing to a downtown district in the borough, but it lacks the vibrancy of other sections of New York City that have become havens for young professionals and artists, said Jonathan Bowles, who wrote the study for the Center for an Urban Future, a public policy group.
What is needed, the study said, is an immediate change in zoning rules, which have prevented more dense developments near the waterfront.
“If Staten Island is going to hang on to its young people and attract young professionals from elsewhere, it’s going to have to have a dynamic neighborhood with new amenities,” said Mr. Bowles, who presented the center’s findings at a conference of the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation, which commissioned the study. “In a lot of ways, Staten Island is doing very well right now, but under the hood there are a number of mounting problems.”
Staten Island is the city’s fastest-growing borough. That growth has produced new woes, Mr. Bowles said, like rapidly rising housing prices, congested roads and a shortage of high-paying jobs. The lack of a comprehensive plan to solve those problems is very likely to continue driving younger people away, he said.
In the 1990s, the borough’s population increased by 17 percent to about 450,000, but the number of residents ages 18 to 34 decreased by 5 percent, according to the study. That shift reduced the share of residents ages 18 to 34 to fewer than 23 percent from about 28 percent. Many of those who left moved to New Jersey.