Opinion: It's Time to Rezone Gowanus

As the New York City Council considers a controversial plan for the Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn, Moses Gates calls on the city to pass "one of the best and most inclusive community planning processes in recent times."

2 minute read

October 13, 2021, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Brooklyn, New York City

Full Prime Raw / Shutterstock

Moses Gates, vice president of housing and neighborhood planning at Regional Plan Association, writes an op-ed for the New York Daily News calling on the city of New York to approve the Gowanus Neighborhood Planning Study, which is waiting for a City Council decision after winning approval from the New York City Planning Commission and clearing obstacles like the pandemic and a lawsuit that targeted the plan for its socially distanced public review.

According to Gates, the ongoing controversy is the work of a "small handful of opponents…choosing lawsuits and scare tactics over engaging and providing ideas or solutions." These obstacles, according to Gates, "[threaten] to hijack one of the best and most inclusive community planning processes in recent times — one that directly addresses the long-standing environmental hazards of the neighborhood."

Doing nothing has consequences, writes Gates.

The opposite of moving forward with the Gowanus plan is not preserving the existing neighborhood in amber; it’s increasing flooding that slowly eats away at our infrastructure, letting our public housing crumble and abandoning efforts to clean up pollution. Instead of affordable housing and parks, we’ll see a combination of high-rent apartments and last-mile warehousing bringing more and more truck traffic to the neighborhood. It’s a future in which rents, which have increased by more than 20% in the last decade alone, continue to skyrocket due to the housing squeeze. It’s a future that adds nothing for either existing or new residents.

Gates argues that the Gowanus Neighborhood Planning Study would mitigate all of those trends. The Racial Equity Report for the plan foresees a net positive for racial equity, for example. Gates also explains how the plan will address stormwater and other environmental risks.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021 in New York Daily News

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

Street view of 4th Avenue, a commercial street of shops and restaurants through the city center of downtown Seattle, Washington.

Study: Seattle Vision Zero Projects Not Bad for Business

An analysis of seven road safety project sites showed no negative economic impact on surrounding businesses.

13 minutes ago - UW News

Black-and-white photo of street with old black model T and brick building on the corner.

The History of Racial Zoning and Housing Discrimination in the US

More than a century of discriminatory housing policy divided cities and contributed to the racial wealth gap and other social and economic inequities.

1 hour ago - Urban Land Magazine

Aerial view of Vail, Colorado in winter with multi-story buildings in foregorund and snowy mountains in background.

Opinion: Resort Towns Must Take Action to Keep Housing Affordable

The workers that keep many popular tourist destinations running find it more difficult to find affordable housing near their jobs as more remote workers move to scenic resort areas.

2 hours ago - Governing

Senior Planner

Heyer Gruel Associates

Regional Transportation Planner

Crater Planning District Commission

Senior Planner- Long range

Prince William County Planning Office

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.