East New York

Since early 2015 Pratt Center has been partnering with the Coalition for Community Advancement: Progress for East New York/Cypress Hills (the Coalition), a group of community and civic organizations, small businesses, houses of worship, and local residents working to ensure the local community’s voice is heard in the rezoning process. In collaboration with a team of other technical assistance providers, Pratt Center supported the Coalition in articulating its goals, developing alternative proposals, and advocating for community priorities before and throughout the land-use review process. One important product in that process was the East New York Neighborhood Rezoning Community Plan.

Key components of the Coalition’s plan included:

  • Stronger commitments to build more deeply affordable housing
  • Anti-displacement measures for renters, homeowners, and small businesses
  • Special zoning to ensure the creation of schools, child care seats, and other community facilities
  • Local hiring initiatives

Pratt Center also worked with its partner technical assistance organizations to draft a comprehensive response to the rezoning plan’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which included highlighting the inadequacies in the City’s analysis of the rezoning’s impacts. 

In April 2016, East New York became the first neighborhood to be rezoned to allow for higher density housing as part of Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York plan.

While the process yielded some local victories, many of the community’s greatest priorities have not yet been won, and there are both new challenges and unresolved ones that have arisen from the rezoning. The Coalition has been continuously and intensively engaging in the multitude of issues related to the rezoning and subsequent major development proposals (both inside and outside of the actual rezoned area), from site-specific projects to the potential area-wide redevelopment of Broadway Junction.

Pratt Center is coordinating the work of the technical assistance collaborative in this post-rezoning phase, while also providing additional technical assistance in other areas of work that the Coalition is pursuing, including:

  • Helping the Coalition monitor the progress of the City's $16 million set of IBZ commitments and identifying gaps for potential advocacy related to the City’s meeting its commitments
  • Working with the Coalition to guide an upcoming EDC study on the future of Broadway Junction and supporting advocacy efforts to ensure that the redevelopment of this area aligns with community-generated goals
  • Designing and implementing participatory exercises to engage local stakeholders in envisioning how sites could be physically designed and in contemplating the types and levels of community benefits that would need to be created in order for the Coalition to lend support to a project
  • Supporting the Coalition’s efforts to educate and inspire the broader community to get involved and ultimately bring more stakeholders into it
  • Supporting the Coalition’s advocacy efforts in the implementation of a pilot program to legalize informal units in basements and cellars