Pratt Center Project

Sustainable Community Development

Building Community Capacity to Shape NYC’s Housing Plan: Jerome Ave

Pratt Center equips communities to understand the scope and impact of proposals for their neighborhoods and engage them to define community priorities around housing affordability and density, jobs, infrastructure, public services, environmental quality, and more.

Working with a collaborative of four other technical assistance providers - Hester Street Collaborative, the Community Development Project at Urban Justice Center, Association for Neighborhood Housing Development, Center for Urban Pedagogy -Pratt Center provides planning, mapping, policy analysis, and advocacy assistance to communities targeted for rezoning as part of the goals set out in Housing New York, Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing plan. We equip communities to understand the scope and impact of proposals for their neighborhoods and engage them to define community priorities around housing affordability and density, jobs, infrastructure, public services, environmental quality, and more. Informed by findings from the community planning process, we support our community partners’ advocacy with the Administration to realize goals for a holistic neighborhood plan and to secure commitments that will shape neighborhood development as rezonings move forward.

In fall 2014, Mayor de Blasio announced the City’s intention to rezone a 73-block corridor along Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, from 167th Street to 184th Street.  As a major corridor that connects the densely populated residential neighborhoods surrounding the elevated 4 train, the majority of the area is currently zoned for manufacturing and heavy commercial uses.

Since early 2015, Pratt Center has been working with the Bronx Coalition for a Community Vision (“the Coalition”) as they develop and advocate for their vision of a just rezoning. Led by Community Action for Safe Apartments of New Settlement Apartments (CASA), the Coalition includes faith-based organizations, tenants organizing groups, local union members and auto merchants.

From March through September of 2015, the Coalition’s steering committee led a series of visioning sessions, with support from Pratt Center and collaborating technical assistance providers centered around four principles:

  • Strong anti-displacement and anti-harassment policies for residential and commercial tenants
  • Real affordable housing
  • Good jobs and local hire
  • Real community participation

The visioning series culminated in the October 2015 release of the Coalition’s Policy Platform, which articulates steps that should be taken in order to ensure the realization of the Coalition’s vision, as well as identifies a variety of implementation mechanisms. As the environmental and land use review processes approach in 2016, Pratt Center will continue to assist the Coalition in collaboration with our partners.

As the Coalition advocates for strategies that would fairly treat existing workers and business in the neighborhood, Pratt Center is supporting this effort with research and analysis rooted in our knowledge of industrial preservation, land use planning, and policy, as well as local retail planning and revitalization.