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Chinatown Residents Create Their Own Plan to Prevent Displacement

In a city looking to land use regulations for answers to an affordable housing crisis, one collection of community groups attempted to create a plan of their own.
March 7, 2016, 12pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Stephen Zacks reports on the grassroots planning effort behind the Plan for Chinatown and Surrounding Areas, led by the Pratt Center for Community Development’s Collective for Community, Culture, and the Environment, and completed in December 2013.

According to Zacks, "the plan recommends the creation of a special-purpose district for the historic core of Chinatown and its expanded area north of Canal Street. The district would use downzoning to C-4 with 85 height limits as one of the tools to preserve what makes Chinatown unique, to mitigate residential displacement, and to protect neighborhood small businesses from being priced out."

Collaborating with 53 member organizations, as the Chinatown Working Group, the plan required six years of "negotiating a comprehensive plan emphasizing preservation of affordability and neighborhood character," according to Zacks.

After all that work, however, the New York City Planning Commission rejected the plan's zoning recommendations "as 'too far-fetched and too ambitious,'" reports Zacks. The article sets the discussion of the Plan for Chinatown in the larger context of gentrification and displacement around the city as well as the land use policy discussion driven by the de Blasio administration’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (MIH-ZQA) initiative.

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Published on Friday, March 4, 2016 in The Architect's Newspaper
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