Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Imagine Flatbush, Jane Jacobs, and NIMBYism

On yesterday's Brian Lehrer Show, a segment addressed Imagine Your Neighborhood 2030: a Community Visioning Project initiated by the Municipal Art Society (MAS), which states:
As part of Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York, MAS will work with the residents, business owners, and civic leaders of Flatbush, Brooklyn, with the partnership of the Flatbush Development Corporation, to assist in creating neighborhood sustainability goals and tools to measure progress toward consensus-based goals. Flatbush is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the city, growing at a rate of eight percent annually, and mirroring the needs and attributes of a growing population within a district that is both architecturally and historically distinct. Yet the lack of affordable housing undermines the ability of the neighborhood to stay diverse, the resident to open space ratio is among the highest in the city, and heavy vehicular traffic compromise the quality of life.

NIMBYism?

One of Lehrer's guests, Eve Baron, director of the MAS Planning Center, described the effort as growing out of lessons learned from both Jane Jacobs and Mayor Mike Bloomberg's PlaNYC 2030.

Lehrer was a bit skeptical, pointing out that PlaNYC relies on increased density, especially at transit hubs.

Baron: The mayor's plan is critically important... We're trying to bring in neighborhood notions of sustainability, which would probably include more Jane Jacobs-type concepts about planning.

Lehrer interjected: Is it a "not in my backyard" sensibility?

Baron responded: I think not. I think Jane Jacobs was in favor of responsible development that would accommodate growth, but growth that didn't undermine what people love about a neighborhood.

That remains a challenge for the city.

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