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Mayor Bloomberg released his sustainability agenda, PlaNYC 2030, two years ago this week.  The assumption driving the PlaNYC initiative was that New York City’s population would grow by one million people by the year 2030.  In the booming economy of 2007, this projection of constant growth seemed reasonable, and visual evidence in the form of new housing development sprung up on nearly every corner.

However, much has changed since 2007.  The foreclosure crisis has hit the city (particularly the outer boroughs), and continuing Wall Street layoffs are wreaking havoc on the city’s tax base.  Construction seems to have come to a near-complete halt, and newly-completed housing sits empty.  Current conditions beg the question, will New York City continue to grow after all?

The Department of City Planning took on this question recently with The Population of New York City: Looking Toward the Future. (This link is the PDF version; for a slideshow with audio click here).  This report outlines population trends in the city over the last 30 years, and concludes that the city’s population will continue to grow despite the recession:

“there is an underlying dynamic that drives New York City’s population, where hundred of thousands of people come and go each decade. Young people and immigrants continue to energize New York, fueling the city’s labor force, creating and frequenting its businesses, and sustaining its neighborhoods.

Recent history shows us that this dynamic changes slowly and is not significantly affected by short-term fluctuations in the economy. In the face of the steep economic decline of the 1970s, or the attacks of September 11, 2001, the underlying momentum in the city’s population has persisted. Even in the face of the current economic downturn, the city’s population dynamic is again likely to persist, and the next wave of newcomers and their children will continue to propel the city’s population upward.”


Yesterday, the Department of City Planning proposed a new zoning text amendment that will require indoor, secure, long-term bicycle parking in new multi-family residential, commercial, and community facility construction.

With commuter cycling on the rise in the City, this new amendment seeks to support current riders and encourage new ones, while decreasing congestion and air pollution. The DCP website outlines the details, including the fact that these bike parking areas would not count toward a building’s floor area.

ULURP for this proposal will begin with review by all community boards starting November 17.

Photo of indoor bike parking at a Portland, Oregon office building by Mark Stosberg on Flickr.

In the inbox today, an email from the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation:

“As part of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC brownfields initiatives, the Mayor?s Office of Environmental Remediation (MOER) invites you to attend our kick-off meeting for community brownfield outreach. This meeting will introduce MOER to community organizations working on brownfield issues, discuss capacity-building workshops planned for 2008-2009, and gather your input about what will help you be most effective in your brownfield work.”

When: Monday, 21 July 2008, 1:00-4:00 pm

Where: NYC Economic Development Corporation 110 William Street, 4th Floor, Manhattan.

To register or for more information, contact

On Tuesday, June 3 from 2-3pm, Gotham Gazette will host a live web chat with Tom Angotti, Hunter College professor, Gotham Gazette land use columnist, and member of the Executive Committee of the Community-Based Planning Task Force.  He will be available to answer questions and offer his views about what the plan does and does not do, its strengths and its weaknesses.

To participate, go to tomorrow at 2pm.  You can also submit pre-chat questions here.

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of Mayor Bloomberg’s release of PlaNYC 2030. Following up on last week’s MAS/Campaign for Community-Based Planning panel, “PlaNYC 2030 Post-Bloomberg,” panelist and Community-Based Planning Task Force member Tom Angotti, Editor of Gotham Gazette’s Sustainability Watch, uses his column today to examine whether the sustainability plan is, in fact, sustainable.

Angotti says that what was missing from the creation of PlaNYC was a real community process. He writes, “In community-level planning, neighborhoods confront the ways that global issues play out in a very real and tangible way on the ground as they affect the daily lives of people. PlaNYC instead uses quantitative metrics that fail to resonate with the everyday lives of people in their communities.”

He continues, “Moving the debate beyond public relations and campaign rhetoric can… lead to a genuine top-down/bottom-up dialogue about how to construct a long-term plan for the city that is sustainable for generations to come.”

Read the full article here.

For those of you working on your schedules for next week, you may want to make some time for one of the following events on Wednesday (April 23):

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This weekend, the Times compiled all City Council Members’ current stances on congestion pricing. According to the article, “[The] survey of the Council’s 51 members this week found opposition to the plan running at nearly a 2-1 ratio among those who have taken a position. Mr. Bloomberg needs 26 votes for approval of the plan, which would charge drivers $8 to enter Manhattan below 60th Street. Asked how they would vote if they had to decide today, 12 council members said they would vote yes, 20 said they would vote no, and 11 said they were undecided, but with serious concerns. The other eight did not respond.”

You can find your Council Member, and their contact information, here.

Greenpoint-Williamsburg’s WPA-era McCarren Park Pool has been many things to the community — a gathering place for thousands of swimmers, a symbol of neighborhood racial tensions, a crumbling urban ruin, and most recently, a summer mecca for indie rock-loving hipsters. As part of the Mayor’s PlaNYC 2030 initiative, $50 million has been allocated to the pool’s restoration, and the site was recently named a New York City landmark. In summer 2007, the Dept. of Parks and Recreation held design charettes and distributed a survey, with the goal of incorporating community feedback into the design. Now, architects Rogers & Marvel are publicly sharing plans for McCarren Park Pool at two meetings of the Community Board:
CB1 Parks Committee Meeting:
Monday, February 4th, 6:30 PM
The Lady of the Snow Society
410 Graham Ave. (btwn Withers & Jackson Sts.) Brooklyn
Full CB1 Meeting:
Wednesday, February 13th, 6:30 PM
Swinging Sixties Seniors Center
211 Ainslie Avenue (btwn Graham & Manhattan) Brooklyn

Last week, DOT announced the second round of public workshops in neighborhoods across the city to address community concerns about the possible impact of congestion pricing on neighborhood parking. 

This is the second round of workshops in selected “study areas.”  According to DOT,  the first round of workshops, held in November 2007, looked at parking conditions and needs, and began a dialogue on potential parking management strategies. The second set of workshops will discuss possible parking management strategies, such as instituting residential parking permit programs, expanding the use of Muni-Meters, making changes to on-street parking fees, and using technology to track parking usage in the study neighborhoods and other border-zone neighborhoods.

The upcoming meeting schedule for the Upper East Side, Harlem, Long Island City, Forest Hills and Park Slope after the jump.

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Andrew Blum recently wrote,

I think we’re not too far off from recognizing that it’s a moral imperative to add density to any place with a transit stop,” believes Christopher Leinberger, a fellow at the Brookings Institution—displaying plenty of the modernist brio and contempt for the souls of cities that Jacobs fought. But I’m tending to agree. We are wedging ourselves between a rock and a hard place: between the pleasures of medium-density living (Greenwich Village, Park Slope, Toronto’s Annex) and the ecological necessity of even more density.

And in “Hamilton: the Electric City“Richard Gilbert said,

Because of transport’s key role in energy use, particularly use of fossil fuels, a specific principle concerning the relation between land use and transport may be helpful. Historically, transport planning has served land-use planning. Current practice is to integrate them so that both occur together. For an energy-constrained world, it may be expedient to plan transport first and then arrange land uses to serve the transport activity. A transport objective could be, for example, that half of all commuting occurs on foot or by bicycle. Land uses would then be proposed that would facilitate attainment of this objective.

Which leaves me wondering if “sustainability” has been sufficiently infused into community-based planning. While the Campaign’s platform and policies were prescient, with references to sustainability like the following:

In meeting its infrastructure needs, the City must be guided by principles of sustainability by giving priority to strategies that maximize utilization of existing infrastructures such as retrofits of sanitation department marine transfer stations and re-powering of power plants. The City must work with community groups to identify those capital infrastructure investments that reduce local air emissions. (Principle 5)

perhaps, in light of recent science and the concerns that have arisen around the sustainability movement, we should revisit the platform for a “sustainability once-over.”

Since 2000, The Community-Based Planning Task Force has been leading the effort to create a more meaningful role for communities in New York City’s planning and decision-making processes.

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