Press Releases

For Immediate Release
December 14, 2021

Melissa Grace, Joe Marvilli – (212) 720-3471

New Webpage Empowers Community Voices in City Service and Infrastructure Decision Making

Provides centralized and equitable access to information related to community needs and budget priorities, including the most common "pressing issues" identified by Community Boards

Pulaski Park in Bronx Community District 1. This park was renovated after the Community Board identified it as a need. Credit: NYC Parks / Daniel Avila

Pulaski Park in Bronx Community District 1. This park was renovated after the Community Board identified it as a need. Credit: NYC Parks / Daniel Avila

NEW YORK – Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Anita Laremont today announced a “Community District Needs” online resource space. The webpage empowers communities seeking to increase equitable investment in City services, thus improving transparency and making government more accountable.

“DCP’s new webpage is designed to give a stronger voice to New York City's 59 Community Boards and advocacy groups, especially those in lower-income neighborhoods that often face challenges accessing City resources and services. With DCP planners ready and able to offer support, including expanding and diversifying public outreach and participation by Community Boards themselves, we encourage all New Yorkers to get involved in advocating for their communities,” DCP Director Anita Laremont said.

The New York City Charter-mandated Community District needs statements and budget requests identify funding priorities for Community Districts to inform the City’s neighborhood and infrastructure planning, including capital planning, and equitable, efficient delivery of City services.

Once submitted, the Community District needs statements and budget requests are sent to relevant city agencies and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as they prepare the Preliminary Budget, typically released in January. The final submissions can be found on Community District Profiles by choosing a district and selecting "Community Board."

As part of DCPP’s commitment to equity and transparency, the new webpage allows New Yorkers to explore DCP’s summary and analysis of Community Board submissions. DCP prepares this analysis each year to inform City strategic plans, equity considerations and programmatic priorities:

  • In 2020, DCP's analysis looked at submissions from communities identified for prioritized investment in COVID-19 recovery efforts by the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity (TRIE).
  • In addition, each year DCP summarizes the most pressing issues identified by Community Boards, which provides vital information for the City to further align its efforts with community needs.
    • "Affordable housing," "Parks and open space," "Land use trends" and "Traffic" were the most commonly selected pressing issues for Community Boards in the coming Fiscal Year 2023.
Top City Issues

DCP supports all 59 Community Boards in the preparation and submission of their annual needs statements and budget requests, including helping Boards to broaden their outreach. To level the playing field for lower-income communities, DCP provides heightened consultation in helping boards prepare their annual submissions and expand participation. On the webpage, DCP provides online resources and trainings.

This new webpage is the latest step in DCP's ongoing work to simplify the submission process, thus making it easier for communities with fewer resources to make their voices heard:

  • Due to DCP's streamlining efforts begun in 2015 alongside the Office of Management and Budget, Community Boards in lower-income areas have increased the number of budget requests they submit to City agencies, closing the gap between the number of requests submitted by traditionally better-resourced, higher-income neighborhoods.
  • A web-based submission form, launched in 2019, standardized the needs statements and budget request submissions and now connects Community Boards directly with information and data across City agencies.

"I want to applaud DCP in announcing their new webpage to make the Community Needs process and Community Board requests more transparent, and empower all New Yorkers to get involved. Community Boards play an important role in City governance by helping in improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers," said Civic Engagement Commission Chair and Executive Director Dr. Sarah Sayeed. "Their important advisory role in land-use and zoning matters, the City budget, municipal service delivery and many other matters relating to their community's welfare is paramount in helping the City of New York to continue to reinvent itself."

"The new DCP webpage on the Community District Needs process is an exciting development to encourage community engagement in New York City government," said Community Affairs Unit Commissioner Roberto Perez. "New Yorkers looking to get more involved in their community should feel empowered with more transparent data and this new webpage delivers that."

"This administration has always sought to work in lockstep with communities to plan investments in their neighborhoods," said NYC Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Louise Carroll. "Residents know their neighborhoods best, and the City is stronger for the participation and input of our Community Boards. I want to thank DCP for their work providing resources and training to empower Community Boards, and publishing valuable feedback that will foster more civic engagement and understanding among New Yorkers and ultimately help us make better investments across the city."

"All New Yorkers deserve access to quality parks, and the Community District Needs process is an important part of making that happen," said NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff. "The Department of City Planning's new webpage will make their feedback tool more transparent and help community members improve our park system by identifying the top priorities in their neighborhoods throughout the city."

"Community Boards are the most grass-roots form of government—and their Charter-mandated annual Community District Needs reports are essential to planning the future of our neighborhoods," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "So anything that helps Boards conduct that process is welcome and the team at the Department of City Planning should be congratulated for putting this resource online to do that."

"Making the Community District Needs process and Community Board requests more transparent is essential in getting New Yorkers involved in local issues impacting their everyday lives," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "It is important that community residents participate in the decisions that are building and growing our borough, and I applaud DCP for creating this new webpage that will provide residents the ability to do just that."

"NYC Community Boards are the most local, grassroots form of city government and are often on the front lines of the issues and challenges facing their districts. The Community District Needs process is one of the most critical, Charter-mandated roles the Boards play in shaping public investment in the areas they represent. Our continued partnership and collaboration with the Department of City Planning is key as we continue to find new ways to encourage robust community engagement and empower community members to advocate for their greatest needs. Thank you to DCP's Planning Coordination team for their efforts in making the process more accessible and transparent," said Brooklyn Community Board 4 (Bushwick) District Manager Celestina Leon.

"The more transparent the Community District Needs and budget request process is, the better our budgets will reflect the needs of our constituents. I encourage New Yorkers to visit City Planning's new webpage to learn about the process and get involved," said Brooklyn Community Board 6 (Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope, Red Hook) District Manager Michael Racioppo.

"Over the past several years, the Department of City Planning has modernized the process for Community Boards to submit their district needs. These prioritizations and explanations of the challenges facing our neighborhoods and the required solutions City agencies should fund are the bedrock of making sure each neighborhood in our city of 9 million people gets the targeted services and investments needed to stay healthy and vibrant. The new features of the CD Needs website make it even easier to show grassroots community support for specific priority investments and services in our neighborhoods," said Manhattan Community Board 9 (Hamilton Heights, Manhattanville, Morningside Heights, West Harlem) Chair Barry Weinberg.

The new webpage further expands DCP's commitment to connect community members with neighborhood data and planning tools, including:

  • Community District Profiles, which provide a robust, intuitive graphical overview of each of our 59 Community Districts, and handy comparison charts of key socio-economic, demographic and select service performance indicators. These profiles also contain links to current and historical summary needs submissions for each Community Board.
  • Community District Priorities, an online platform for Community Boards to formally submit their annual needs and budget requests to the City, with easier access to relevant City data to make a stronger case for these requests

Department of City Planning
The Department of City Planning (DCP) plans for the strategic growth and development of the City through ground-up planning with communities, the development of land use policies and zoning regulations applicable citywide, and its contribution to the preparation of the City's 10-year Capital Strategy. DCP promotes housing production and affordability, fosters economic development and coordinated investments in infrastructure and services, and supports resilient, sustainable communities across the five boroughs for a more equitable New York City.

In addition, DCP supports the City Planning Commission in its annual review of approximately 450 land use applications for a variety of discretionary approvals. The Department also assists both government agencies and the public by advising on strategic and capital planning and providing policy analysis, technical assistance and data relating to housing, transportation, community facilities, demography, zoning, urban design, waterfront areas and public open space.