In Bloomberg, NYC Preservationists Find a Friend

During Michael Bloomberg's time in office, New York City has protected more historic sites than under any of his predecessors. The 41 new or expanded historic districts have developers fuming over what they see as planning overreach.

Recognition of sites with historic merit or buffet against against over-development? Laura Kusisto looks at the controversy over the work of New York's Landmarks Preservation Commission during Mayor Bloomberg's three terms in office.

"Under Robert Tierney, appointed chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission by Mr. Bloomberg, the city has placed less emphasis on granting individual structures historic status and more on designating entire districts," she explains. "The result: Two percent of the city is now encompassed by the districts, and 10% of Manhattan."

"After the commission made historic districts of the more obvious brownstone-lined neighborhoods, however, critics have suggested some of its more recent decisions seemed based more on guiding development than preserving areas where the buildings have a consistent style or even architectural merit."

Although Tierney rebuffed such suggestions, "many observers agree that the Bloomberg administration's use of historic districts—which often allow new buildings only if they are in scale with existing structures—has evolved as a counterweight to the mayor's pro-development policies that have transformed swaths of the city."

"The mayor understood if you're going to encourage development, you have to force preservation," said Mitchell Moss, a New York University urban planning and policy professor.

Full Story: Mayor of Preservation

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