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November 7, 2006

Grow or die? Yes, but do it right, says Shiffman

Atlantic Yards Report

Ron Shiffman lectured on local development and urban planning last night. The former City Planning Commissioner, founder of the influential Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development (PICCED, now the Pratt Center for Community Development) and Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn Advisory Board member, had sharp criticism for Atlantic Yards and the abuse of eminent domain.

Shiffman warned that the Atlantic Yards proposal and Columbia University’s proposed expansion “undermine our future ability to undertake the proper planning and development of these kinds of needed mega-projects,” calling them “the culture and codification of cronyism.” Both lack “the necessary participatory processes to develop a program, land-use plan, set of urban design guidelines and a transparent selection process.”

Shiffman’s not against eminent domain—which he said should be used only after a public planning process and when the public purposes is clear--or even the ESDC. “As planners, we know that eminent domain and the power of public authorities, properly crafted and used, can be important tools to address public purposes,” he said. “But the abuse of eminent domain feeds a public sentiment that could lead to a complete backlash.” Given a right-leaning Supreme Court, he said, “we may lose an important tool because we’ve misused it in these cases.”

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Posted by lumi at November 7, 2006 7:17 AM