Planning and Zoning New York City: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

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Todd W. Bressi
Center for Urban Policy Research, 1993 - City planning - 267 pages
Two unique events shaped the magnificent unnatural geography of New York City and created its sense of place: the Commissioners' Plan of 1811 and the zoning resolution of 1916. The first imprinted Manhattan with a two-dimensional plan, a rectangular grid defined by broad north-south avenues, multiple east-west cross streets, and by its standard units: blocks of two hundred feet by six hundred to eight hundred feet. The second determined the city's three-dimensional form by restricting uses by district, by limiting the maximum mass of a building allowed on a given site.This book addresses the fundamental challenge facing every American municipality: Can zoning - the basic tool of municipal land-use control - balance growth and equity? As New York plans for the future, the nation's foremost commentators on urban planning, architecture, land-use law, and design discuss the accomplishments of New York's zoning laws and explore alternative scenarios for guiding the city's future development.The chapters in this book were originally prepared for a symposium on the history and future of planning in New York City. The authors provide a skillful blend of urban history, architectural review, economic analysis, and social commentary. Contributors include such experts as Jonathan Barnett, Sigurd Grava, Frances Halsband, Jerold Kayden, Brian Kintish, Eric Kober, Michael Kwartler, Larry Littlefield, Norman Marcus, R. Susan Motley, Richard A. Plunz, Peter D. Salins, Richard L. Schaffer, John Shapiro, Robert A. M. Stern, Roy Strickland, Marilyn Taylor, Robert F. Wagner, Jr., and Carol Willis. This book is essential reading for planners, architects, historians, developers, and municipal officials concerned with guiding the future of America's cities. Its lessons are vital for every city in America.

From inside the book


How the 1916 Zoning Law Shaped Manhattans
Zoning and the New Horizontal City
Zoning Revision and the Template of the Ideal City

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About the author (1993)

Todd W. Bressi has taught at Pratt Institute’s urban design department, Hunter College’s Department of Urban Affairs, and the University of Pennsylvania. For more than ten years he led the journal Places. His expertise includes urban design, public art, open space, cultural districts, and design guidelines.

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