About Zoning Districts

Sketch of a residential street with people walking on the sidewalk.

New York City is divided into three basic zoning districts: Residence (R), Commercial (C) and Manufacturing (M). The three basic districts are further sub-divided to allow for a wide range of building forms and uses.

Zoning districts are assigned a letter and number. In general, a higher number means a higher density of people is allowed or more intense land uses are permitted.

  • Residence Districts are characterized by a range of housing types, from detached single-family homes in R1 Districts to residential skyscrapers in R10 Districts.
  • Commercial Districts are characterized by a range of business activities, from neighborhood retail and services in C1 Districts, to regional commercial areas with department stores and movie theaters in C4 Districts, to gas stations and car repair in C8 Districts.
  • Manufacturing Districts are characterized by a range of industrial and commercial activities, including light manufacturing in M1 Districts and heavy manufacturing in M3 Districts.

In addition, Special Purpose Districts modify or supplement the zoning districts in some neighborhoods to address unique conditions.

There are also special zoning rules for some areas across the city that have shared features, such as areas along the waterfront or around airports.