Accidental Skyline

Too often, New Yorkers are caught off guard by new development in their neighborhoods.

The Accidental Skyline offers tools to help demystify the city planning process and bring the public into the conversation.

MAS embarked on its Accidental Skyline initiative in 2013 in response to the super-tall towers rising along the southern border of Central Park. For the most part, these buildings use development rights from adjacent buildings and are being built largely as-of-right without public or environmental review. When completed, they will cast new shadows on the park and change views of the city.

Why now?

These slender, hyper tall buildings are a result of a hot real estate market driven by high demand for luxury condos and made possible by relatively recent advancements in building technologies. Because there has been no public process associated with these buildings, many New Yorkers were surprised when construction started. Growth is good for the city, but with development pressure high in many areas, projects should proceed in a thoughtful and transparent manner.

While MAS’s work started in response to the buildings near Central Park, the issue is one that increasingly concerns neighborhoods across the city. Many New Yorkers feel left out of the planning process and are unaware of development proposals until shovels hit the ground.