New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration has re-zoned 20 percent of the city in an effort to promote sustainable, transit-oriented development, according to Streetsblog New York City. The article says the changes are the most sweeping since the entire zoning code was re-written almost 50 years ago, and that they will shape the city for generations to come.
Streetsblog notes that the administration has undertaken other high-profile efforts to reshape the city, including closing parts of Broadway to traffic and issuing a street design manual friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists, but says that the zoning changes may be the most important.
By re-zoning existing areas, the administration aims to direct new growth - an estimated one million new residents in the next 20 years - to transit-oriented neighborhoods. Streetsblog observes:
The typical rezoning is tough to classify as an attempt to increase or decrease density across an entire neighborhood. Rather, the general strategy at the planning department has been to increase density and introduce a mix of uses along avenues and in areas next to transit, while preserving the existing character of side streets and more distant areas, often through downzoning.
Overall, Streetsblog says, the zoning changes are “a bright spot in the administration’s record, though not without significant flaws and missed opportunities.” In particular, the article says that the administration has restricted growth in certain high-density areas surrounding existing transit stations.