November 2017
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Community-Initiated Plans = Long-Lasting Neighborhood Transformations

atlas map

MAS, with assistance from the Community-Based Planning Task Force, has published the latest version of Planning for All New Yorkers: An Atlas of Community-Based Plans in New York. This compendium showcases some of the most creative planning efforts in New York City — plans that come from communities that plan for themselves, illustrating how community boards and local organizations have been fighting to solve the city’s most pressing issues neighborhood by neighborhood and, in some cases, producing miraculous transformations.

These successes have been achieved only after many years of effort involving fundraising, organizing, as well as political lobbying and litigating, to leverage the resources for technical planning and implementation; and the political will to accept these innovative proposals that do not always accord with market pressures.

The Atlas is a tool for communities that wish to create a plan, but do not know where to start. By highlighting other communities that have already undertaken similar planning activities, the Atlas can point to groups and individuals with whom they can consult and collaborate. It can also be used to develop background on community-based planning and to elicit ideas from other community-based plans.

Common themes have emerged from the collection of the 87 plans in the Atlas, including: maintaining the contextual character of the neighborhoods; zoning for mixed use areas with residential, light industrial, commercial and/or retail; limiting commercial traffic in residential areas; providing public access to waterfronts; balancing economic development with measures to reduce displacement; and protecting residential areas from noxious uses. As more plans are added to the Atlas, common themes will continue to crystallize. Such themes should provide a solid foundation for citywide planning policies.

The Atlas is posted on the Municipal Art Society’s website where sections can be downloaded. The Atlas is continuously being linked to other community organizations’ websites. As a living document, it will be constantly updated to include new community-based planning initiatives and current information on the status of the plans already included.

If you know of a plan that should be included, contact the MAS Planning Center.