Zoning for All

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York plan, released in May 2014, lays out a set of strategies to preserve and create 200,000 units of affordable housing. To achieve that goal, the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) has proposed a series of zoning changes that will remove barriers that constrain housing production and increase costs, encourage better quality buildings, promote senior housing, and reduce unnecessary parking requirements by updating the current zoning regulations. On 04.17.15, NYC’s architectural community filled Tafel Hall to hear directly from DCP.

The AIANY Planning and Urban Design Committee partnered with DCP to hold an informative and well-timed program outlining the updates. Co-sponsored by AIA Bronx, AIA Brooklyn, AIA Staten Island, and AIA Queens, the event preceded the public review process and took place before the specific text amending begins. DCP wants to hear from the design community, so AIANY and the other New York AIA chapters are working together to garner support and input.

Representing DCP, Chief Urban Designer and Director of Urban Design Jeff Shumaker, and Zoning Division Deputy Director Frank Ruchala Jr, AICP, presented the proposal and related projects. A panel of architects and experts participated in a candid discussion about how the changes would affect architects.

DCP’s presentation is available here. A recording of the program will be available here in the coming weeks.

Pulse Points

  • Mayor de Blasio’s released One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City on 04.22.15. Building on PlaNYC, OneNYC establishes goals and specific targets for a strong, sustainable, resilient, and equitable city.
  • On 04.21.15, Mayor de Blasio announced three new solar energy installations on city-owned buildings as part of the Administration’s green buildings plan to reduce carbon emissions and climate change. Read the press release here.
  • Registration is now open for FitCity 10 on Monday, 05.11.15 at the New York Academy of Medicine! Register here.
  • AIANY submitted a written statement to the New York City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises in support of the proposed One Vanderbilt Avenue project on 04.13.15. Read the testimony here.
  • On 04.15.15, Lisa Morgenroth, Assoc. AIA, Co-chair, AIANY Design for Aging Committee, testified before the New York City Council Committee on Aging in favor of an Aging in Place guide. Read her testimony here.
  • The fourth in a series of events related to the presidential theme of Tomas Rossant, AIA, “Dialogues from the Edge of Practice” will take place on 04.27.15 at 6:00PM at the Center for Architecture. “Edge Living: Edge Living: Micro Units, Live/Work Environments, and the Future of Urban Dwellings” will focus on how, architects and City agencies must work together to contain construction costs and time reach Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing goals. Through the development of micro units and live/work communities, we can build more units on a single site, and support the creative economy in all five boroughs. These approaches could also serve the city’s growing senior population. Speakers will answer the questions: How should the mix of dwelling typologies in New York City evolve? What would these types of development require from a design perspective? A zoning/policy perspective? This event was preceded by a think-tank roundtable discussion on 04.21.15.

Emma Pattiz is the AIANY Policy Coordinator. For more information on AIANY policy initiatives and programs, please contact her at