Tomorrow, the New York City Council will hold a hearing on Intro 2186, a legislation proposed by Council Speaker Corey Johnson called Planning Together: A Comprehensive Framework for New York City. This large proposal requires the city to undertake periodic citywide comprehensive planning and details a completely new process for the city to accomplish this task.
While the title of the legislation alludes to a collaborative process, Planning Together represents a top-down planning framework that centralizes land use powers among the Mayor and City Council and prioritizes growth goals above all else. Though communities would have opportunities to weigh in throughout the process, public engagement would be managed by the Mayor's Office and ultimately there is no requirement to incorporate this feedback.
It is unclear how growth targets will be determined, if and how they will consider historic districts and landmarks, and what recourse communities will have if they disagree with the plans set out for their neighborhoods. The focus on growth in “high opportunity” areas within the city's core also does nothing to support investment in historically disadvantaged neighborhoods that may need it and may even further starve those areas of the city.
More coordinated and equitable planning is a worthy goal, but centralizing much of the planning process to the Mayor's Office and City Council will further entrench the top-down planning process that limits true community engagement, and further complicate planning in New York City.