Rezoning in Inwood

I found an article online from, Ahead of Rezoning Hearing, Inwood Groups Release Merged Platform. It was written in February about a  community plan for rezoning in Inwood, a neighborhood in uptown Manhattan. Abigail Savitch-Lew writes that the “Uptown United Platform, is a 16-page document that reacts to the Economic Development Corporation’s proposed rezoning of Inwood and proposes an alternative plan”. She goes on to talk about how this is the collective effort of many neighborhood community groups by name. She also talks about how much of the alternate plan is designed to protect current tenants and community interests. She also discusses how some parts of the plan can be taken positively or negatively by the mayor’s office. Part of the plan includes rezoning plans, and a big emphasis on “creating truly affordable and ‘community-controlled’ new housing on community land trusts, protecting small businesses, strengthening neighborhood infrastructure and making the neighborhood climate resilient”. From the other end, Savitch-Lew also addresses the plans of the original rezoning plan proposers, the Economic Development Corporation, which they say took into account a lot of community input. The alternate rezoning plan says that this isn’t as true, and that there wasn’t much plan to incorporate community input as heavily as suggested, saying that the “EDC had an idea of the general shape its final rezoning would take long before the final plan came out”. It’s quite interesting to see how these two plans interact with each other.

            I chose this article because it relates to our readings for this week, especially that of Tom Angotti in his book, “New York for Sale: Community Planning Confronts Global Real Estate”. A chapter in the book, “From Protest to Planning Stories”, focuses a lot on the conception of community plans, and their success and effectiveness. Angotti, gives us a history on how “community planning in New York City, came out of struggles against top-down city-sponsored urban renewal plans.”. The idea of community planning came even before community boards, which are always used as an example of how to involve the community in plans. Typically, these community plans were in response to incoming danger of gentrification or displacement by new plans. So, many of these plans include components that heavily protect current tenants and current housing prices, in hope that rents won’t go up and kick residents out. This is a huge impact gentrification can have on neighborhoods, and alternate plans provide a solution of keeping current residents safe, while also allowing for growth of the neighborhood. At the same time, these plans can be flawed because of too much emphasis on helping the current residents, and thereby minimizing incentive to rezone and rebuild the area in the first place. This is how everyone’s plans, original rezoning or alternate, can get a bit complicated. This directly relates to the Uptown United Platform in response to the EDC’s rezoning plan. Although the plan wants to protect current Inwood residents, it places a lot of impact on growing the neighborhood mostly for the community itself, even though this can also spur growth and productivity within the neighborhood itself, making it worth it in the end for everyone involved. Alternate plans are a good idea though, because as Angotti says they can bring a lot of power back to the community’s hands, like with the Cooper Square Alternate Plan. This plan, one of the first community plans in NYC, led to people in the community getting onto important decision-making boards for development in their neighborhoods. Hopefully, the rezoning in Inwood goes well, and ideally, the Inwood neighborhood groups on behalf of the rest of the community, and the EDC can come to an agreement that benefits everyone and has the best interest of the neighborhood in mind.

Link to article:

Ahead of Rezoning Hearing, Inwood Groups Release Merged Platform

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