New York remains haunted by the experience of the 1970s, when property owners abandoned tens of thousands of buildings and brought entire neighborhoods down with them. Years of rebuilding forged a pragmatic cadre of advocates who are terrified at what they see coming. One of them is Harold Shultz, a former city housing official now with the Citizens Housing and Planning Council. “For those of us who lived through the ’70s and saw how quickly a building can deteriorate once you stop making an investment in it–and what one bad building can do to an otherwise OK neighborhood–we don’t want to see any of that happen again,” he says.