A Call to Give New York's Planning Power to the People

Michael Sorkin bemoans the trickle-down planning ethos of the Bloomberg era and sees the need to increase the city's resiliency as an opportunity to "return to the task of physical planning attuned to local desires".

1 minute read

January 4, 2014, 5:00 AM PST

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


"It's time to reintroduce communities into the planning process," urges Sorkin. "New York must move beyond the oppositional model of planning that has too long dominated, best exemplified by our beloved Manichean struggle between cardboard versions of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs. Although there is no contradiction in planning both inductively and deductively, our process is too skewed toward money and away from people: the capacity of neighborhoods to meaningfully participate in planning their own destinies—and that of the larger realms we all share—is fundamental."

"Wisdom doesn't belong to any particular group (although needs are best assessed locally), and a mayor must empower everyone," he continues. "For this, we look to you [Bill de Blasio] with high hopes."

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