Zoning in Action: Building Blocks on the Upper East Side

In a time when New York City was home to the third-largest population of German speakers in the world, Yorkville — and 86th Street in particular — was known for its German immigrant community of artisans, butchers, brewers, and shopkeepers.


Jane Jacobs, the namesake of the Municipal Art Society’s annual Jane’s Walk, was famous for her advocacy for human-scale development. As over development and “super tall” buildings threaten the human-scale of New York’s residential neighborhoods, we’ll take a thrilling dive into the zoning ordinances that help keep that development in check! From floor area ratio to R8B, and POPS we’ll see zoning in action on this tour of the Upper East Side led by urban planner George Janes. While zoning is one of the fundamental factors that shape the look and feel of our city, NYC’s zoning resolution weighs in at nearly 4,000 pages – not exactly light reading. Join us as we translate abstract land use concepts from the page to street, with a focus on recently proposed zoning reforms that seek to limit the exploitation of zoning loopholes — like mechanical voids — as well as local projects upending long held notions of open space that are contributing to over development in residential neighborhoods. Presented as part of Jane’s Walk 2019, hosted by the Municipal Art Society.


American Irish Historical Society
991 Fifth Avenue



Free to the public, advance registration is required.


  • March 20, 2019
  • 6:30 pm