The text of Ms.
Burden’s prepared speech follows:
I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to speak
with you today, at this pivotal moment for our
city, about how, and where, we are creating a
spectacular blueprint for the future.
Mayor Bloomberg is bringing the best thinking
to bear on the city's problems, and he has made
housing and economic development a priority of
For the first time, all city agencies responsible
for land use and development issues are coordinated
under a single deputy mayor, all working together
toward a common vision of a world city of opportunity.
In Downtown Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, Long Island
City, the Far West Side and Jamaica, the best
minds are putting their heads together to move
an almost unbelievably ambitious agenda.
In developing these initiatives, we have looked
carefully at conditions in the city; the constraints
they create and the opportunities they offer.
I'd like to share with you some of these insights
and how they are shaping our agenda.
First, the city is growing both economically
The 2000 Census counted eight million New Yorkers;
the highest number ever enumerated and already
within 2 years, by 2002, the Census Bureau estimates
we added another 76,000 new, New Yorkers.
We expect the city's population to continue to
both attract new residents and to grow in the
Why do they come? They seek and, for the most
part, find an improved quality of life and economic
By 2001, the city was providing more economic
opportunity, meaning more people working, than
at any time in its history.
We believe, as do respected forecasters, that
the city’s economy will add private payroll
jobs next year. But the trend in payroll jobs
does not tell the whole story.
It is particularly noteworthy that self-employment
, which rose dramatically in the city in recent
decades, was at an all time high in 2001.
The rise in self-employment has helped support
increases in average incomes in every borough,
and despite payroll job losses in the recession,
has sustained the growth we are seeing in many
parts of the city.
To the point, the unprecedented housing surge
that we are now experiencing represents an extraordinary
measure of confidence in the city.
Not since 1985 have so many housing permits been
issued; last year over 18,000 units received permits.
From January 2000 to this past July, new housing
permits were issued for 61,000 units with the
largest increases in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.
This is really, really big news.
And this housing boom has been driven primarily
by private, not public, investment – something
without parallel since the 1960's.
It is our challenge to plan strategically for
a city that is adding population and housing units
and, over the course of future business cycles,
is expected to continue to add jobs.
How can we create conditions to accommodate future
economic growth in a city that is already built
out to its edges?
How can we provide housing opportunities for
a growing population with rising incomes and expectations
– and still retain and enhance the very
qualities that make our neighborhoods desirable?
We start by building on our strengths - our extraordinarily
diverse neighborhoods, our regional business districts
that haven't begun to reach their potential, our
mass transit system, and our precious waterfront
and open spaces.
This time around, we are planning proactively
and at large scale, we are setting comprehensive
plans in motion citywide. Our objectives are to
catalyze change where it is needed within a framework
of making great places and protecting great neighborhoods.
If we plan properly today, we will keep New York
businesses in New York and more New Yorkers in
the best home town anywhere.
In the city's central and regional business districts,
we are working on comprehensive land use and urban
design master plans to channel and shape anticipated
growth in ways that make great places and enhance
Our basic philosophy is that it is not enough
to prepare handsomely bound volumes that sit on
Rather, our plans set forth a vision for an area,
and then we, the public sector, undertake the
entire land use review process, including building
consensus, completing environmental impact reviews,
and bringing these actions through the Planning
Commission and City Council.
By invoking a series of strategic public actions
– regulatory changes, infrastructure investments,
and investing scarce public dollars in public
space improvements --we can set the stage for
private market investment and private market creativity.
Let me take you on a tour of some of our initiatives.
On the Far West Side, in Hudson Yards, we see
a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a major
expansion of the Midtown business district. This
vast and dynamic area at the heart of our city
will provide growing room for the next four decades,
enough space for an estimated 100,000 additional
To help create a unique and special place - a
24-hour community, with new residential and office
development, we will create a generous open space
network, and add major public facilities including
an expanded Convention Center and multi-use stadium
and exhibition complex.
The 7 line subway will be extended, providing
connections to virtually the entire subway and
commuter rail systems.
We have prepared a comprehensive Urban Design
Master Plan that ties these elements together
and, along with a comprehensive rezoning, will
ensure that Hudson Yards will be a great place
to live and a great place to work.
This is a multi-year, long-term plan to be built
and developed over a 40 year time frame.
In Lower Manhattan, we are working with our partner
agencies to shape the Trade Center rebuilding,
and to reinvigorate all of Lower Manhattan, with
a revitalized East River Waterfront, a robust
residential neighborhood, new cultural facilities,
a vital and improved street environment, and a
score of new parks that will be open this coming
A one-seat ride from JFK into Lower Manhattan
– an ambitious but a most important goal
- would solidify Lower Manhattan’s resurgence
as a world-class business district, as a tourist
destination, as New York culture and shopping
at its best, and as a place to live and raise
Restoring and revitalizing Lower Manhattan and
developing Hudson Yards are complementary, not
competing actions. Lower Manhattan is a relatively
near term action with, at a minimum, the first
two buildings completed well before any office
development is contemplated on the far west side.
Hudson Yards will be built out over 40 years
with the first office coming after the extension
of the #7 line which is estimated to be completed
If the city is to prosper in the twenty-first
century, it will need both its major business
districts, to grow.
At the same time, we must also set the stage
to capture our share of the region’s growth
by developing regional business districts throughout
the city. We lost millions of square feet of office
development to New Jersey in the last decade largely
because our regional business districts were not
prepared to accommodate new office growth.
To that end, in less than two weeks we will initiate
the formal public review of a major expansion
of the Downtown Brooklyn central business district
which will not only provide for five million square
feet of new Class A office space, and university
expansion but also new housing opportunities to
help foster round the clock street life and forge
connections to the great neighborhoods of Fort
Greene and Boerum Hill.
Once again, we are not planning one building
at a time, or just enacting a simple rezoning.
We are setting forth a comprehensive Urban Design
Master Plan, coupled with the full spectrum of
regulatory changes and public investment. The
plan for Downtown Brooklyn will facilitate a cluster
of new office buildings around a new park at Willoughby
Street and an entirely re-envisioned and re-landscaped
Flatbush Avenue that will finally become a majestic
gateway to Brooklyn.
This is one of the most comprehensive plans the
Department has ever undertaken, involving 22 land
use actions. Once adopted, the stage will be set
for private market investment.
In Long Island City, New York's nascent fourth
CBD, MetLife's decision to locate and expand its
back offices is the first tangible outcome of
our 2001 rezoning to foster economic development.
Now our urban design plan will create a sense
of place in locations that have long been dedicated
to truck movement and parking lots. And, in order
to enhance street vitality that is essential for
a successful business district, we are rezoning
to allow and foster new residential development
between Citibank and Queens West on the waterfront,
bringing life and foot traffic to this unique,
transit-rich, culturally vibrant neighborhood.
We are applying similar principles, combining
zoning changes, urban design plans and infrastructure
investment, in regional business districts in
Jamaica and Flushing in Queens as well as at the
Hub in the Bronx.
Each of these districts is being planned in a
comprehensive fashion, taking advantage of the
different strengths and characteristics of each
area. That way we will respond to different markets
by providing different products to meet different
needs. Each of these districts will be great places
to work near some of the most wonderful places
We have, after all, the most diverse and valued
residential neighborhoods in the nation; indeed
our neighborhoods are our crown jewels: from the
towers of Manhattan and the brownstones of Brooklyn
to the suburban-style communities of Staten Island
and College Point.
One of the greatest challenges we face today
is to respect and preserve these distinct qualities
that make our neighborhoods desirable places to
live even as we seek to accommodate the housing
needed by the city's growing population.
In some cases, the surge in new housing, which
is occurring for the most part in low density
suburban style areas of the city, has created
significant issues for residents who rightfully
wish to preserve the quality of life in their
communities. We are moving quickly to address
mismatches between the densities permitted by
zoning and the unique built character of these
neighborhoods. For the most part, these areas
have little public transportation and thus do
not have the infrastructure to support housing
In City Island in the Bronx, Forest Hills and
Holliswood in Queens, and numerous communities
in Staten Island, we already have undertaken new
zoning that will be more appropriate to the scale
of these low-density neighborhoods.
Elsewhere, we can make the most of opportunities
to build new neighborhoods and to strengthen emerging
Over the past two years we have had considerable
success in crafting and enacting a wide range
of neighborhood zoning plans in all five boroughs,
each with goals matched to differing opportunities
The work we are doing in Upper Manhattan, for
example is setting a precedent for other parts
of the city.
Too often in the past, our plans for Manhattan
stopped south of 96th Street. I am extremely proud
that, working with the Harlem communities, we
have successfully implemented both the East Harlem
and Frederick Douglass Boulevard rezonings.
They are the first comprehensive rezonings in
Upper Manhattan in more than 40 years. They are
truly comprehensive, covering 57 blocks in East
Harlem and 44 blocks along Frederick Douglass
Similarly, in Park Slope in Brooklyn and North
Corona in Queens, the new zoning will promote
new apartment buildings at higher densities on
wide avenues while preserving the lower scale
of residential side streets.
Our neighborhood plans are producing housing
throughout the city for all income groups.
In the face of great fiscal restraints, Mayor
Bloomberg has committed, in his "New Marketplace"
initiative, more than $3 billion over the next
five years to preserve and create over 65,000
units of housing for low, moderate and middle
income New Yorkers. No city in America does more
in terms of providing new housing opportunities.
We intend to maintain, even accelerate, the momentum
of the past two years. Some of our most ambitious
rezonings, such as Greenpoint/ Williamsburg in
Brooklyn and West Chelsea in Manhattan, are well
In Greenpoint-Williamsburg two of the most sought
after and vibrant neighborhoods in the city, we
have proposed a comprehensive plan to enhance
and build upon the architecture and mixed use
character of the existing community, while opening
up a spectacular waterfront that has been derelict
for decades. Through an urban design master plan
and comprehensive rezoning, we will open up for
development 170 blocks which will, in turn, leverage
two miles of continuous waterfront access and
49 acres of new parkland.
Here, over the next decade and more we can connect
the landlocked upland community to the waterfront,
facilitating thousands of apartments in a mixed
use setting, and creating an interconnected network
of continuous publicly accessible waterfront open
spaces and parkland.
Another of our most ambitious efforts is our
rezoning master plan proposal for West Chelsea,
a critical link between the newly landmarked Gansevoort
Meat Market District and the Hudson Yards. Here
we are using traditional zoning tools in a totally
innovative manner, whereby we will promote new
housing in character with the existing building
form, preserve and enhance the city’s premier
art gallery district, and most importantly, facilitate
the transformation of the High Line into an elevated
public open space.
The High Line is a totally unique structure which,
when transformed into an elevated park will transport
pedestrians for 22 blocks without coming in contact
with a single vehicle. Eventually, the High Line
park and the public open spaces in Hudson Yards
will allow New Yorkers to walk from the Meat Market
all the way to 42nd Street through a network of
parks and public open space.
What I have described is a new way of planning.
It's not broad brush, like the citywide zoning
It is not reactive or piece-meal, like much of
what took place afterward.
Instead, it looks at whole neighborhoods, at
the needs of New Yorkers, and creates a framework
for the future.
Nor has it been top-down. All these projects
have been developed with the input of business,
community leaders, and elected officials, who,
after all, will live with the results.
We have made it a hallmark of the new City Planning
to listen, to cooperate, to go forward with consensus,
on projects whose scope is unprecedented.
It will be up to you – the decision makers,
the people who invest in the city's future, the
trailblazers – to bring your creativity
to bear, to interpret the framework we are mapping
out, and to turn it into bricks and mortar and
public open space.
Our comprehensive plans – which we will
set in place for you -- will help make your job
By creating AND enacting these planning frameworks,
we've taken the guesswork out of projects, paving
the way for as-of-right, appropriately scaled
development that will benefit New York's business
districts and its neighborhoods.
By enhancing infrastructure, by rezoning, by
completing the environmental reviews and taking
these comprehensive proposals through the entire
public approval process, we are creating a more
fertile investment climate, saving those who would
invest in New York's future time and money, and
enabling the private market to respond when the
market is ready.
Mayor Bloomberg has challenged each of his commissioners
and all city agencies to help create a better
city than the one we found upon taking office.
With this focus, and a shared commitment to invest
in the city's future, we have a golden opportunity
and, I might add, an obligation to leave a legacy
for tomorrow's New Yorkers:
A legacy of communities that people live in because
they want to, not because they have to; a legacy
of places that inspire; a legacy of open spaces
worthy of the greatest city in the world. We are
dedicated to making this vision a reality.