SPOTLIGHT ON: Zoning
By Christine Bruzzese
In 1916 the Board of Estimate of New York City adopted a zoning plan to control building height and land use as both population and need for commercial and residential structures grew. Since then, there have been changes in the zone system and zoning regulations. The City Hall Library collection includes a variety of resources on zoning.
"The Politics of Zoning: the New York Experience" by Stanislaw J. Makielski, Jr. studies the history of zoning from 1910 to 1960. Starting with the 1916 Zoning Resolutions, the author describes the various groups who participated in decision-making about zoning and political processes involved. The major plan for rezoning proposed by the architectural firm of Voorhees, Walker, Smith and Smith, that was passed by the Board of Estimate in 1960, is examined.
"Planning and Zoning New York City: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" edited by Todd W. Bressi features readings presented at symposium held in New York City in 1992. The various presenters/authors were professors, architects, urban planners and city officials. Various readings cover the history of zoning, 1961 zoning revision, zoning for growth and change, rethinking zoning policy and practices for the future.
"Report of the Heights of Buildings Commission to the Committee on the Height, Size and Arrangement of Buildings of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment of the City of New York" was published in 1913. This report was one of the key elements in the redesigned zoning resolutions of 1916. It includes original charts and diagrams, conclusions and suggestions for building heights and zoning and comparisons with other cities and countries.
For those who need to research actual zoning resolutions, the City Hall Library does have Board of Estimate zoning resolutions from 1916 to 1937 and various editions of the City Planning Commission Zoning Resolutions from 1940 to the present. Zoning New York City by Voorhees, Walker Smith & Smith, an architectural firm under contract to the City Planning Commission, is a major report that provided a basis for the comprehensive revision of zoning resolutions in 1961.
The vertical files provide newspaper and other clippings on this topic. These are just some of the resources that can help the researcher better understand this complex topic and the related issues.
Find out more at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/records/home.html
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