It’s “Sustainable Watch” week over at Gotham Gazette, which means the publication has several articles about what the future holds for the Bloomberg administration’s PlaNYC, the city’s vision for 2030 that’s supposed to make New York greener and help prepare for an influx of (a projected) 1 million more residents over the next couple decades. One piece locates a “fundamental flaw in the mayor’s approach to long-term planning” in the wake of congestion pricing’s defeat: The fact that PlaNYC’s approach largely sidesteps input from communities, making it “a one-way, top-down process…As a result, grassroots support for the plan, and congestion pricing, was limited to passive assent and a more enthusiastic core of environmental groups.” In other words, no matter how good individual facets of PlaNYC are, it’s quite possible that many may never come to fruition, doomed by a lack of community support for their implementation and the mayor’s term limits:
PlaNYC’s methodology is linear, dealing with simple cause-effect relations that may have little to do with complex neighborhood-based visions. For example, planting a million trees would reduce greenhouse gases by a quantifiable amount. Congestion pricing would reduce car trips by a predictable percentage. But as the congestion pricing debate proved, it is simply not enough to make one isolated change a city priority when its local impacts are not clear. This kind of “results-oriented” thinking ignores the complexity of life in the city and is especially unsuited to a multicultural city where many, perhaps even a majority of residents, find this approach to be alien.
The question now, perhaps, is whether it’s too late to give community-based planning a significant voice in what should be a discussionâ€”not a monologueâ€”about New York’s future.
Is the Long-term Sustainability Plan Sustainable? [Gotham Gazette]
Legislation To Boost Community-Based Planning [Brownstoner]
Photo by jennifer easton.