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March 20, 2008

Planner Burden on balanced growth, community consultation, and "esthetic democracy" (in Brooklyn)

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder parses a two-year-old CUNY-TV interview with City Planning Commission Chairperson Amanda Burden in an attempt to understand how she looks at rezonings. This passage tells us just about all we need to know.

Burden: That's the thing. Any rezoning, to get it passed or done, has got to pass community boards and elected officials. So we have to build consensus. And the only way you can do that is by really showing people visually what they're going to get, and bringing in the stakeholders and getting them to feel invested in the plan. For instance, in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, here you had two miles of waterfront, it was fenced off, inacessible, derelict for decades. So to really get the community to not only understand the zoning that we were proposing, but to buy into that, we took the committee for open space of the community board there around to all waterfront parks in the city, and they chose the benches and the lights and the paving and the railing that's going to be on their waterfront. So this is really a plan that is created by the community. Otherwise we would have never have gotten it passed.

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NoLandGrab: Oh, goody, the Community Board committee members appointed by the Borough President and Council Members get to pick the trim, while developers turn brownstones and warehouses into 30-story luxury condos. We love consensus!

The irony though, is that such meaningless input would be a welcome upgrade to the absence of a community role in shaping Atlantic Yards.

Posted by eric at March 20, 2008 10:06 AM