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November 15, 2006

AY myth 1: the Design Guidelines came from the government

Atlantic Yards Report

Chapter 1 of the Project Description explains:

In order to establish an overall framework for the design and development of the project site, the proposed project would follow urban design goals and principals set forth in a set of Design Guidelines developed in close consultation with ESDC [Empire State Development Corporation] and DCP [Department of City Planning} staff. The Design Guidelines are attached as an exhibit to the GPP. The Design Guidelines were supported by the New York City Planning Commission (CPC) in its recommendations on the project and have been modified since issuance of the DEIS to reflect CPC’s recommendations.

Norman Oder explains:

The agencies did contribute to the Design Guidelines. Memos acquired via a Freedom of Information Law request to DCP show that DCP staff commented to representatives of developer Forest City Ratner, architect Frank Gehry, and landscape architect Laurie Olin.

However, the job to "identify the important elements of the project master plan developed by Gehry Partners and Olin Partnership" seems to have been mainly the responsibility of... Gehry Partners. As the memo reproduced here shows, Gehry took the lead, and the agencies agreed with Forest City Ratner's plan to take Gehry's name off the guidelines.


NoLandGrab: A cynical Brooklynite would assume that this rejiggering of who had what role in the Design Guidelines has a lot to do with trying to create an appearance of a city-planning process.

This smacks of a defensive move in anticipation of an eminent domain law suit based on last year's US Supreme Court decision of Kelo v. New London. Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn has recently filed just such a law suit, claiming that the seizure of private property for a private development, in this case, is unconstitutional.

Posted by lumi at November 15, 2006 7:31 PM