The community boards are tasked with making a variety of local-level planning decisions, but none have planners on staff. The fellowship program was started to fill that void by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer three years ago. It was limited to Manhattan, but now the program is expanding.
"Upon taking office in 2006, Stringer launched his Planning Fellowship Program to help place planning students from the surrounding universities-Pratt, Columbia, Hunter, City College, Rutgers, NYU, and the New School-with the 12 community boards in Manhattan. While their work was part time, they helped out with technical challenges, research, and special projects that even the boards' land-use experts struggled with or lacked the time to execute, as highlighted in a story we wrote the following year.
This year, two Brooklyn boards-Fort Greene and Park Slope-have picked up fellows, and Stringer, with the backing of the Bloomberg administration, which controls his and the boards' budgets, said today at a press conference that he hopes to have fellows in every board in all five boroughs by the start of the next academic year."