Pratt Center for Community Development Endorses “Comprehensive Planning” for New York, Reported by City Limits

Posted on March 28, 2019

Max & Murphy: Would a Comprehensive Plan Map a Better Future for NYC?

Published in City Limits on March 28, 2019
Written by Jarrett Murphy

The 2019 charter revision commission is considering adopting “comprehensive planning” for New York City. That would shift the city from a land-use system that primarily responds to development pressure and produces very localized zoning changes with varying degrees of connection to housing subsidies and other city investments to one where changes in every neighborhood align with an array of policies and a set of citywide goals.

New York City has never had a comprehensive plan, and many are resistant to the idea that there’s any need for one. After all, the city’s population and workforce are booming. And a comprehensive plan would take significant time and effort to produce in a city that is constantly evolving. For that reason and others, skeptics of comprehensive planning begin their argument with, ”If it ain’t broke …”

But a group of advocates, experts, and non-profit housing developers called the Thriving Communities Coalition has stepped forward to argue that the status quo is not sustainable. One of its members is the Pratt Center for Community Development, and its director of policy, Elena Conte, told the WBAI Max & Murphy Show on Wednesday that the city’s current “planning” system does little planning at all.

“Right now we’re both failing to meet the needs of existing residents and we’re failing to plan holistically for the growth that is anticipated, the climate change that is already happening. It’s as though the right-hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing when it comes to planning and policy. And the folks who are bearing the biggest brunt of that are communities of color because of the long legacy of unmet needs and racist planning decisions that have left them with baseline conditions that are so inappropriate for a baseline standard of living,” Conte said.

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