City Limits has teamed up with The Nation to cover the first 100 days of the de Blasio administration. Click here to read the series.
Development defined Michael Bloomberg’s mayoralty. Whether you think the former mayor revitalized a stagnating city with its work at Hudson Yards and the Brooklyn waterfront, or blasted a gentrification superhighway through places like Harlem and Greenpoint—or did some combination of both—Bloomberg’s approach to land use is central to your admiration or critique. Land is the ultimate non-renewable resource and decisions about it shape the city for decades, so land-use will shape Bill de Blasio's legacy as well.
On Friday, de Blasio named one of his transition co-chairs, Carl Weisbrod, to be the new chairman of the City Planning Commission and the commissioner of the Department of City Planning. Weisbrod will play a crucial role in crafting de Blasio’s development impact.
The early focus will be on specific rezonings. But that will miss the point. As we reported in 2011 (in the only edition in 35 years of City Limits magazine that involved a dead fish in the cover shoot), New York's “planning” process is often less about planning—which is supposed to be an inclusive, proactive process that charts a vision for the city and its neighborhoods—and more about zoning, which is often, though not always, episodic and reactive.
Will Weisbrod change that approach? Read more here.