Get the Zoning Handbook

Zoning Handbook Cover
A completely new and improved 2018 edition is now available.

Have you wanted to better understand the city’s complex zoning rules, but don’t have the time to read the entire 1,300-page Zoning Resolution? The Zoning Handbook is intended to demystify the city’s zoning rules through easily understandable text, charts and images. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of zoning in New York City, and to explain the changes in regulations since the 2011 edition was published, the Handbook has been completely rewritten to provide a fuller picture of the current regulations and the planning ideas behind them. The 2018 Zoning Handbook is now available for free as a pdf or for purchase as a hard copy book. The 2018 Zoning Handbook:  

  • Makes zoning more accessible to a broader range of people - whether you’re just learning what F-A-R is, you’re a community advocate or you’re a seasoned developer;
  • Provides the up-to-date information you need on all zoning changes made since the 2011 edition including the Flood Resilience, Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, Zoning for Quality and Affordability, and Zone Green text amendments, as well as numerous new special districts;
  • Ground the Zoning Resolution in the reality of the city’s neighborhoods through new illustrations and photographs showing what can be built under zoning;
  • Is re-oriented into a landscape format to enhance the book’s overall legibility and easier to read Tables.

View or download the PDF Document the 2018 Zoning Handbook (65 mb) or selected chapters:

  • Cover, How To Use This Handbook, and Table of Contents
  • Chapter 1: Introduction to Zoning
    This chapter provides an overview of the 100-year history of zoning in New York and the major concepts in the Zoning Resolution.
  • Chapter 2: Applying Zoning
    Three case studies examine how zoning rules work in practice. These examples look at (1) how zoning regulates the construction of a new building, (2) how it regulates the modification of an existing building and (3) how special approvals can be granted when needed.
  • Chapter 3: Residence Districts
    This chapter explains the rules applicable in the city’s wide variety of residential neighborhoods – from suburban areas of Staten Island to the dense skyscrapers of Manhattan.
  • Chapter 4: Commercial Districts
    This chapter introduces the rules applicable in commercial areas, including neighborhood commercial streets and the Coney Island amusement park.
  • Chapter 5: Manufacturing Districts
    This chapter presents the rules for manufacturing districts – from high-density loft buildings to locations with essential services such as power plants.
  • Chapter 6: Special Area Rules
    This chapter explains supplemental zoning rules applicable in large areas of the city – such as around airports or along the waterfront.
  • Chapter 7: Special Purpose Districts
    This chapter provides descriptions of each special purpose district – over 50 of which are currently in effect – that modify the underlying zoning rules on a neighborhood scale.
  • Chapter 8: How Zoning Gets Amended
    This chapter describes the public process by which zoning regulations can be amended or other discretionary actions sought.


  • Appendix: Glossary of Zoning Terms
    Key zoning terms, highlighted in bold throughout the Handbook, are compiled here for easy reference.

DCP’s Zoning Handbook is the quintessential guide to New York’s zoning rules, how they meet the changing needs of our growing city and how the public can participate in the planning process. This invaluable companion to New York City’s Zoning Resolution is useful to anyone involved or interested in researching or planning the physical city. It’s a must-have reference to understand NYC land use regulations – and the 213-page published edition is printed on durable stock with glossy photos and sharp colors to ensure diagrams are easy to digest.

To purchase the DCP Zoning Handbook:

  • Order with a credit card at the NYC CityStore
  • Visit the NYC CityStore at One Centre St, North Plaza, New York, NY to purchase in person, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (Subway directions: 4, 5, 6, J, M to Brooklyn Bridge. 1, 2, A, C, E to Chambers St. R to City Hall)
  • Fill out this PDF Document order form and/or visit the Department of City Planning office at 120 Broadway, 31st Floor, New York, NY 10271, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Zoning Handbook is also available in New York City libraries.

Any questions? Contact or call 212-720-3300.