A New Generation of Community-Led Planning in New York

With a benchmark success in demanding rights for the community during an ongoing rezoning process in Inwood, a neighborhood in Manhattan, a new generation of community-led resistance to top-down planning is coalescing in New York City.

1 minute read

July 13, 2020, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Columbia University Athletics

KazT / Shutterstock

Oscar Perry Abello's examination of the ongoing community-led opposition to a proposed rezoning in the Inwood neighborhood in Manhattan starts in July 2018, at the "Block Party for a Just Rezoning," organized by Northern Manhattan Is Not For Sale, an all-volunteer coalition of Inwood residents and business owners. 

"The organizers hoped to use the occasion to pressure their local council member to nix a city-driven rezoning plan and instead follow an alternative the coalition had proposed," according to Abello. That hope has given way to an ongoing political battle, and a recent legal win, after a judge ruled that the city had failed to consider the racial impact of zoning changes, and sent the plan back to the drawing table.

Abello, who covered the court decision in June for Next City, is writing this story for a new publication with a little more space to examine the Inwood story and other examples of immigrant communities starting to "win major victories against developers and even City Hall, pushing back against changes that they fear would result in the loss of their neighborhoods."

As a first step, as detailed in the article, is the challenge of translating the jargon and minutiae of planning to largely immigrant communities. For examples of that work, Abello explores beyond Inwood, citing the work of Queens Neighborhoods United as an example.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020 in Yes!

Three colorful, large beachfront homes, one khaki, one blue, and one yellow, with a small dune in front and flat sand in foreground.

Florida Homeowners 'Nope Out' of Beach Restoration Over Public Access

The U.S. Corps of Engineers and Redington Shores, Florida are at a standstill: The Corps won’t spend public money to restore private beaches, and homeowners are refusing to grant public access to the beaches behind their home in return for federal assistance.

June 7, 2024 - Grist

Multistory apartment building under construction.

New Tennessee Law Allows No-Cost Incentives for Affordable Housing

Local governments in the Volunteer State can now offer developers incentives like increased density, lower parking requirements, and priority permitting for affordable housing projects.

June 10, 2024 - Nooga Today

Pumping Gas

10 States Where the Gas Tax Is Highest

As the gap between gas tax revenue and transportation funding needs widen across the country, the funding mechanism is drawing increased scrutiny from both public officials and consumers.

June 9, 2024 - The Ascent

Concrete walkway with landscaping, decorative tiles, and picnic tables in a Los Angeles County park.

Wish Granted: Former Brownfield Transformed to New Park

Wishing Tree Park in West Carson, California officially opened last month, replacing a brownfield site with a much-needed green space for recreation and respite.

June 14 - Urbanize LA

"No right turn on red" and "Turning vehicles yield to pedestrians" sign.

The Tide is Turning on Right Turns on Red

The policy, which stems from the gas embargo of the 1970s, makes intersections more dangerous for pedestrians.

June 14 - NPR

Thick green forest on edge of lake in Louisville, Kentucky.

Louisville Begins Process to Clean Superfund Site

A public forest is home to dozens of barrels that have been leaking toxic materials for decades.

June 14 - Inside Climate News

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.