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Can Sherman Creek and Neighborhoods Like It Be Saved? The Neighborhood Struggle Against Outdated Zoning

Tuesday January 2006

Panelists: Regina Armstrong, Principal, Urbanomics; Richard Barth, Executive Director, NYC Department of City Planning; Warren A. James, Architect and Urban Designer, Sherman Creek Plan; Paul Travis, Managing Partner, Kingsbridge Associates
Moderator: Julia Vitullo-Martin, Director, Center for Rethinking Development, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

New Yorkers often think that the city is running out of land. But a 2005 study by economist Regina Armstrong says that all five boroughs have plenty of developable land. Much of the land is just zoned incorrectly, often for uses that are no longer economic or are noxious, making residential development difficult.

One such neighborhood is Sherman Creek on the Harlem River in Northern Manhattan, which activists have been trying to rezone to permit mixed-use development. The 150-acre area is dominated by a low-rise jumble of subway yards, Con Ed substations, garages, auto repair shops, warehouses, and parking lots. The adjacent dense, growing neighborhood has few parks, even as chain-link fences cut off access to the water. The Bloomberg administration has set up a multi-agency task force to work with the neighborhood. Please join us for a discussion of the future of Sherman Creek—and of neighborhoods throughout the city straight-jacketed by outdated zoning and land-use policies.