December 2017
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MAS Maps Make History in Prospect Heights

prospect heights brooklyn historic district boundary map

MAS and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Corporation (PHNDC) recently partnered to advocate for a new historic district in Prospect Heights. This hands-on collaborative experience resulted in LPC’s consideration of 750 contributing buildings, and the decision to move forward with the designation a new historic district in Prospect Heights. The partnership revolved around a community mapping initiative that produced a unique tool that anchored discussion among multiple stakeholders and helped mark the boundaries of the district proposed to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC).

With guidance from MAS and the PHNDC, residents contributed by building on the initial research with their own local knowledge and expertise. Initially, the property inventory contained information such as land use and zoning designations, ownership, and physical characteristics of the properties studied — like acreage or number of floors. Neighborhood volunteers surveyed the neighborhood, in the process confirming information and recording more observations to supplement the inventory with new detailed data on the status of the properties surveyed. The resulting series of maps displayed the location and relevance of more than 1,100 buildings.

The proposed Prospect Heights Historic District is but one example of how MAS uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology as a mapping tool to build on and expand our knowledge of New York City’s historic resources. This technology is used to map property inventories, visualize urban information on a graphic form, and analyze general trends across the city’s neighborhoods. But most importantly, mapping is by its nature an opportunity for collaboration—in this case, in support to a civic partnership between MAS and PHNDC.

The writer is Senior GIS Analyst/Planner.