Shining a light: New York City’s new zoning handbook

In releasing a new zoning handbook, New York City’s Planning Commissioner, Amanda Burden, extolled its virtues:

“Zoning is the language of the city, it is a three-dimensional blueprint for what any area of the city can become. After City Planning released the Zoning Handbook in 2005, I was thrilled to see so many New Yorkers at community meetings with dog-eared copies of the trademark bright orange Handbook. The Handbook is designed to be readable, entertaining and informative. It empowers communities by helping them understand zoning and making them better advocates for their neighborhoods. Cities never stand still, nor should zoning. I am proud to release this new edition of the Handbook which will be a tool for all New Yorkers.”

“In the last nine years, zoning has been reinvented to embody smart growth and sustainable principles while addressing a range of goals as diverse as New York City’s neighborhoods. Increases in density have been directed to transit-oriented locations to create walkable communities that offer a variety of retail, service, community facility and employment opportunities. This comprehensive approach is focused on using zoning to help provide all New Yorkers with choices, facilitate healthier lifestyles, green our city with cleaner land, water and air, and advance PlaNYC, Mayor Bloomberg’s vision for a greener, greater New York.”

The New York Times also weighed in on the new handbook: “Along with admirably lucid prose, the 168-page book contains cartoonlike illustrations of what each zoning designation allows, as well as images showing successful applications of the provisions.”