November 2017
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400 Attend Community-Based Planning Conference

On November 1st and 2nd, the Planning Center and Hunter College Urban Affairs and Planning organized Planning into Practice: A Conference for Community-Based Groups, Planners & Professionals. The conference was well-attended by close to 400 participants including city agencies, elected officials, community-based planning organizations and planning professionals.

The conference began with a keynote address by New York City Planning Department Director Amanda Burden who expressed the department’s commitment to work with communities across the city to implement plans that meet both local and citywide needs and concerns.

Ron Shiffman, Executive Director of the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development moderated a lively panel on plan implementation, composed of planning professionals, elected officials and community-based organizations. Tony Avella, Chair of the Zoning and Franchises sub-committee of the City Council, affirmed that he would work toward a “revolution in community-based planning in New York City” that would include a more officially recognized role for neighborhoods in the planning process.

Over the two days the conference held over 20 workshops on subjects such as: Getting Something in the New York City Budget; Where to find the money to Plan and Implement; Understanding Charter Provisions of ULURP and BSA as well as Planning for Open Space and Waterfront Access. Led by facilitators from city agencies, advocacy organizations and local groups, participants found the sessions informative and while highlighting differing perspectives on a range of issues.

Next Steps: With the success of this conference, the Planning Center and Hunter College are considering making it an annual event. We are also planning a series of mini-courses at Hunter College on Thursday evenings starting in February, to continue the dialogue between city agencies and community groups on a range of community development and planning issues. Also, the Community-Based Planning Task Force is working with a technical advisory board and council member Tony Avella to draft recommendations to strengthen the role of community-based planning in the City’s overall planning framework.