Promote place-based community planning and strategies
New York City is still grappling with the legacy of historic discrimination and Urban Renewal policies that neglected community perspectives and exacerbated patterns of residential segregation, environmental racism, racial wealth gaps, and inequities among neighborhoods. Because neighborhood context must be understood and reconciled with citywide needs and broader equity considerations, the City is committed to a planning approach that gives communities a voice, values local knowledge, and ensures plans are guided by an equity imperative. Planning must be aligned with citywide strategies that ensure all neighborhoods share responsibility in meeting common goals. Technology is enabling new ways for residents to engage, democratizing data and breaking through barriers such as language and accessibility. The City is creating tools and processes to advance a holistic and community-informed approach to planning that explicitly focuses on addressing disparities among neighborhoods and populations.
More than ever, City agencies are collaborating to launch targeted, neighborhood-scale initiatives to meet community-identified needs in neighborhoods that have been neglected. The City will deepen these strategies across all five boroughs in more robust and coordinated ways.
- Department of City Planning Neighborhood Plans are integrated neighborhood planning initiatives that result from a collaborative effort with community residents, stakeholders, and elected officials. Five neighborhood plans have resulted in zoning changes completed since 2014, with additional plans at various stages in the Bay Street Corridor, Gowanus, Bushwick, and Southern Boulevard.
- Community District Needs Assessments (CDNAs) are a tool used by the NYC Department of Small Business Services and the City’s local partners to gain an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the current strengths, needs, challenges, and opportunities of neighborhood commercial corridors. CDNAs typically highlight a neighborhood’s business landscape, consumer characteristics, physical environment, and demographic data to develop recommendations for merchant organizing, public programming, district marketing and branding, streetscape enhancements, business support services, and other quality of life improvements.
- Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety (MAP) is a targeted, comprehensive approach to reduce violent crime in and around the 15 public housing developments that comprise almost 20 percent of violent crime in the City’s public housing. Through MAP and its associated initiative Building Healthy Communities, which encompasses the neighborhoods surrounding the MAP developments, the City is investing in people through the strengthening of social supports and youth employment opportunities, investing in places through revitalization of physical infrastructure and increased opportunities for recreation and beautification.
- Neighborhood Health Action Centers take previously underutilized City-owned buildings and use these spaces to house government social services, place-based programs, and clinical providers under one roof, with the goal of improving the health of residents in neighborhoods with poor health outcomes.
- HPD’s Office of Neighborhood Strategies works with communities to plan for the preservation and development of affordable housing in a manner that fosters more equitable, diverse, and livable neighborhoods. As part of this process, HPD convenes Community Visioning Workshops, and has published plans for Brownsville, Brooklyn and Edgemere, Queens.
- Community Health Profiles, developed by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, provide critical information about what creates healthy living and what makes it hard to stay healthy in each of the City’s 59 community districts. By using the profiles to inform local planning and decision-making, neighborhood stakeholders and City agencies can ensure planning decisions improve the health and well-being of local residents.
- Resilient Neighborhoods is a place-based planning initiative to identify neighborhood-specific strategies, including zoning and land use changes, to support the vitality and resiliency of communities in the floodplain and prepare them for future storms.
The City is advancing a holistic and community-informed approach to planning in neighborhoods throughout New York City. Since 2014, the City has completed place-based planning initiatives designed to coordinate investment and address community and citywide needs. A selection of those initiatives is shown below.
Create tools and resources needed to support place-based planning
Local knowledge and participation are key ingredients to successful place-based planning, and the City is creating tools and platforms to more meaningfully engage residents and tailor resources to growing neighborhoods. The $1 billion Neighborhood Development Fund was created in 2015 to make customized investments in growing, previously underserved neighborhoods — and the City has made over 300 capital and programmatic commitments to communities impacted by rezonings. To help residents track those commitments and hold the City accountable, the City launched the NYC Rezoning Commitments Tracker, an interactive map that shows detailed progress on these commitments, from refurbished parks to new job-training and tenant-protection programs. This is part of a broader effort to promote forward-looking, holistic capital planning as part of the Ten-Year Capital Strategy, driven by the need to invest in infrastructure in advance of growth, and by the importance of considering historical investment and disinvestment trends in certain areas.
The Department of City Planning created its Planning Labs division in 2017 to build impactful, user-centered technology products to serve the public. Planning Labs has already launched interactive maps including the Metro Region Explorer, NYC Facilities Explorer, Waterfront Access Map, a revamped zoning and land-use application, and a Population Fact Finder that, together, give the public unprecedented access to data and planning resources. Going forward, the City will continue to expand the range and specificity of information that is publicly available, enabling New Yorkers to provide meaningful input on decisions concerning them.