Pratt Center Project

Completed in 2007
Democratizing Planning

Manhattan Community Board 9 197-a Plan

Pratt Center worked with local stakeholders to develop recommendations to guide development in three northern Manhattan neighborhoods.

From 2003 to 2007, Pratt Center worked closely with Community Board 9 Manhattan (CB9M) and the Harlem Community Development Corporation to craft a comprehensive set of recommendations to guide the future development of three neighborhoods in northern Manhattan: Morningside Heights, Manhattanville, and Hamilton Heights.

Community Board 9's plan for the area guided the local response to Columbia University's proposal to expand into Manhattanville. Pratt Center assembled a team to assist Community Board 9 in evaluating Columbia's own rezoning proposal for Manhattanville, including a review and analysis of the university's environmental impact statement (EIS). In addition, our team provided CB9M and the West Harlem Local Development Corporation with analysis for their use in negotiations with Columbia University over the shape of the redevelopment and a community benefits agreement to ensure that new development benefits local residents. The community submitted its plan under 197-a, a section of the New York City charter that authorizes community boards to develop their own land use plans for their districts, subject to the approval of the borough president, City Council, and mayor.

Community Board 9's 197-a plan recommended zoning, design, and other land use measures to promote affordable housing, economic development, accessible transportation, an improved environment, community facilities, and other essential resources for Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights and Manhattanville. The plan was developed through public forums in each of the neighborhoods, analysis by Pratt Center planners, and the leadership of the community board and its 197-a Planning Committee.

CB9M unanimously approved the plan and sent it to the Department of City Planning in October 2005. It began public review in the summer of 2007, concurrent with the approval process for Columbia University's own plan to rezone Manhattanville for a planned campus expansion.

Recommendations in CB9M's plan included:
•    Inclusionary zoning to produce affordable housing
•    Negotiation of a community benefits agreement
•    Expansion of open and green space
•    A ban on eminent domain to seize property for development
•    Special districts for light industry and the arts
•    Street design for pedestrians

View the full report here.