View of Lower Manhattan Skyline from Brooklyn, ca. 1961
Since adoption of the country’s first Zoning Resolution in 1916, New York City has played a seminal role in the history and development of planning and zoning. This rich history is captured through decades of planning reports, land use maps and historic photographs documenting a changing urban landscape. Many of these documents serve as a critical resource for the Department, for the City and for the planning profession.
The Department of City Planning is currently undertaking a project to catalogue the significant archive of historic planning documents published by the Department, with the intent of making this collection publicly researchable to the professional planning community and public.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Zoning Resolution, the Department of City Planning co-hosted Zoning the City, a day-long conference that examined the legacy of these resolutions and cultivated new thinking about zoning as a governmental tool that may be used to address major economic, social, environmental, and physical challenges facing New York City in the 21st century.
In conjunction with the conference, the Department is releasing its collection of documents related to the 1961 Zoning Resolution. This collection includes the landmark 1916 and 1961 Zoning Resolutions. Also available are minutes from the 1960 public hearings held by the City Planning Commission (CPC), the CPC report outlining the need for new zoning regulations, and the 1961 Zoning Handbook published as a guide to the new Resolution. This archive also includes critical reports commissioned from consultancies throughout the 1950s in preparation for the 1961 overhaul. More material will be added as it is digitized.