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Revived City Club of New York focuses on "planning one great city," recommends neighborhood focus in report and upcoming panel

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There's a new--or, rather, returned--voice in the urban planning world, the City Club of New York, a venerable good government group. Described as "dormant since 2009 after over a century of public service on behalf of New Yorkers," it was revived last year.

Notably, a number of people on the coordinating committee and board were formerly affiliated with the Municipal Art Society.

The City Club of New York is sponsoring a breakfast panel March 25 at the Pratt Manhattan Center (details at right), moderated by Michelle de la Uz of the City Planning Commission, and featuring three developers with a record of developing affordable housing.

A neighborhood focus

In January, the City Club issued a statement, Building Affordable Housing will take a focus on Neighborhoods, which drew on a report, Planning One Great City for All.

“If we set allocations by neighborhood and coordinate our efforts there, we will not only signal a change in priorities in accessing opportunities, but will ensure that a shorter process can be achieved and a vastly underutilized pool of investment and development talent captured,” says City Club board member, Stuart Pertz, FAIA. (Pertz worked on the MAS's Atlantic Yards response.)

The report states: “We need to do hundreds of things at a neighborhood scale rather than a few big projects at large scale. We all understand the administrative ease of big projects and their ribbon-cutting benefits, but real benefits come from improving life where people live. “

Thus, the report recommends a refocus, including transfer of staff and resources, to the boroughs and Community Boards. Beyond that, it recommends streamlining "the arcane, expensive and time consuming process for approving and implementing projects" so that frameworks are set ahead of time.

All the changes, says the report, can be implemented by administrative fiat rather than new legislation.