Archive for Gems from the Archives

Weighing The Merits Of Building Tall

FtGreene1950sFort Greene in the 1950s. Image: Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times

Rezoning and density are words that kindle very different emotions and reactions—from excitement and curiosity to fear and anger. The current proposed changes to New York City’s zoning code have sparked all of those amidst growing debate.

In this edition of Gems from the Archives, we explore some interesting and prescient dialogue about the urban environment. We have touched on the issues of zoning and planning in other Gems posts—as in the creation of new neighborhoods like Battery Park City and anti-development organizing around Washington Square

Read more

Building Housing Over the Tracks

Sunnyside YardsSunnyside Yards

The New York City planning and development world received a jolt of energy in Feburary, when Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered his State of the City address. He announced his intention to redevelop the Sunnyside railyard in western Queens, a 200-acre site, with housing and neighborhood amenities. This announcement quickly met some doubt both from Albany and from various pundits around the city. A complicated mix of layout, soil composition, and land ownership issues will combine to make Sunnyside a difficult project.

But Sunnyside will not be the first place in the city where existing railroad infrastructure makes …

Read more

Remembering Mario Cuomo and Forest Hills

Photo credit Richard Kalvar/MagnumPhoto credit Richard Kalvar/Magnum

 

CHPC remembers the late former Governor Mario Cuomo as a true servant of the public. To that end we delved into our archives to uncover the work that propelled him into public life.

In the late 1960s, Cuomo, a lawyer from Queens, became involved with a group of Corona residents who resisted a city proposal that would have displaced them in order to build a high school. From that experience, Cuomo was asked by Mayor John Lindsay to analyze the turmoil that resulted from a subsequent proposal to build low-income housing alongside the Long Island …

Read more

Affordable Housing Trust Funds Past and Present

Former NY Governor Nelson Rockefeller

Former NY Governor Nelson RockefellerFormer NY Governor Nelson Rockefeller

This week brought news that the two government housing giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, would begin contributing to a fund dedicated to affordable housing. As Bloomberg reports, this pot of money, known as the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund, has existed since Congress created it in 2008—but has lain empty ever since.

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt announced that the financial condition of Fannie and Freddie, which kept them from contributing, has improved. The decision to start contributing to the fund has been welcomed and panned by Democrat and Republican elected …

Read more

Recognizing the Importance of Community Parks

Mayor Bill de Blasio announces new NYC parks programMayor Bill de Blasio announces new NYC parks program

In October, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a “Community Parks Initiative” that recognizes the importance of the parks beyond Central Park or Prospect Park, where a couple basketball or handball courts serve as community magnets. The first phase of the plan, dubbed NYC Parks: Framework for an Equitable Future, will invest $130 million in capital funds to refurbish existing parks around the city. The plan has come in for criticism that it doesn’t go far enough.

Of course, this is not the first time New York’s …

Read more

Creating New Neighborhoods in NYC

BatteryParkCity meninsuits

The landfill set to become Battery Park City.The landfill set to become Battery Park City.

 

This week the NYC Department of City Planning announced a study that will help forge a new neighborhood in the Bronx. This followed on the heels of an op-ed by Charles Urstadt arguing in favor of filling in the Harlem River to create new land area. CHPC went into its archives in search of some precedent for this daunting—and for some, mouth-watering—urban planning challenge.

Just two months after humankind first walked on the moon, the master plan for an entirely new New York City neighborhood was published. The Battery …

Read more