Pratt Center Project

Completed in 2013
Democratizing Planning

Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA)

Pratt Center assisted local stakeholders in conducting visioning sessions to address the development of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area in lower Manhattan.

Four decades ago, an urban renewal project near the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge on Manhattan's Lower East Side displaced thousands of low-income tenants.

While the city built affordable housing on some of the cleared parcels in the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA), several large blocks went undeveloped. In 2009, parking lots occupied the undeveloped zone of SPURA along Delancey Street, even while the Lower East Side, where the typical household earned $37,000 a year, urgently needed more affordable housing.

During fall of 2009 the community organizing group Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) and the neighborhood history project City Lore convened Lower East Side residents and other stakeholders in a series of four visioning sessions designed to generate discussion about the site's future, the neighborhood's needs, and the place of affordable housing in an area that has seen an influx of higher-income new residents alongside largely poor families. Pratt Center Planner Paula Crespo developed and facilitated the workshops while GOLES presented participants' input to the City agencies that control the land, making the case for development that brings benefits to a wide range of residents in the neighborhood.

Read the report here.