New York City is a global city, whose bedrock is the strong character and diversity of its neighborhoods.
The Zoning Resolution reflects this complexity and presents a framework for development
that builds on the unique qualities of each of those neighborhoods. Zoning is the language of the
physical city: it is a three-dimensional blueprint for what any area of the city can become.
For the last eight years, zoning has been an instrumental tool in helping us ensure the sustainable
growth of New York City by encouraging development in areas well-served by mass transit.
We have continued to fine-tune the Zoning Resolution to make it more versatile and responsive,
to better address issues of neighborhood character and social equity as well as to help promote
investment in the city’s future.
We have expanded our ‘zoning toolbox’ by adding new zoning districts tailored to individual
communities and have endeavored to improve the public realm by creating new design guidelines
for waterfront public access and public plazas to guarantee that they are inviting and well used.
Underlying all of City Planning’s efforts has been a focus on the human scale of the city, and we
have tried to achieve this through the integration of urban design with zoning.
The Zoning Handbook has been designed to be readable, entertaining and informative. Annotated
diagrams, photographs and easily understandable charts help demystify the Zoning Resolution.
This 2011 edition has been expanded to include City Planning’s latest zoning districts and text
amendments. While it will continue to be a significant tool for all New Yorkers, not just land use
specialists and zoning experts, this Handbook should not be used as a substitute for the Zoning
Resolution which is available online for free at www.nyc.gov/planning.
The Handbook is intended to make zoning more accessible to all, and to help New Yorkers advocate
for their neighborhoods. Planning initiatives are most successful when there is full participation by
residents, elected officials and other stakeholders. We hope that this new edition will facilitate that
involvement and encourage a robust engagement by all those involved in the public land use process.