An Atlas of Community Plans

Since 2004, there has been a 40 percent increase in the number of community-based plans drafted in New York City. But for every high profile alternative rezoning proposal like the “Unity Plan” in response to Atlantic Yards, there are dozens like the proposed eco-industrial park in the Bronx that fall under the radar of the mainstream media and occupants of a neighborhood.

On April 15, the Municipal Arts Society will launch an on-line Atlas of Community-Based plans in New York City that have been drawn up by various neighborhoods across the five boroughs. The Atlas is meant to be a resource for residents and planners alike to ultimately make city plans more reflective of the neighborhood concensus.

“These are the plans you don’t hear about in the press,” said Eve Baron, the director of the MAS Planning Center. “They are not the Bruce Ratner plans or the Solow plans.”

Almost 90 local city planning proposals are included in the Atlas, which can be navigated by borough, council district, and type—Open Space, Revitalization, and Environmental Remediation are just a few of the creative planning trends that have been gaining steam lately and “go farther than rezoning,” said Ms. Baron.

Only 18 of the entries are 197-a plans, the non-binding proposals community boards can submit to the City Council; 11 have been adopted by the City Council and one is currently under review; one was withdrawn; one was disapproved; and four were not submitted for official adoption by the city “for various reasons,” Ms. Baron said.

Aside from individual plans, the Atlas also includes comprehensive maps of the city. A map comparing the allocation of public funds in the five boroughs with the neighborhoods where the highest concentration of community-based planning initiatives have originated shows that “there is a relationship between community planning and expenditure, but it is not always consistent,” Ms. Baron said.

Capital expenditure is high in Districts 12 of Queens and 17 in Brooklyn, for instance, but not a lot of planning is going on.

An Atlas of Community Plans