Since early 2015, Pratt Center has been a partner to 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 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 met, and there are both new and unresolved challenges that have arisen from the rezoning. The Coalition has been continuously and intensively engaged in the multitude of issues related to the rezoning and subsequent major development proposals, from site-specific projects to the potential area-wide redevelopment of Broadway Junction.
Pratt Center and our collaborators 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. Pratt Center also drafted 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 the post-rezoning phase, Pratt Center continued providing technical assistance to the coalition:
- Designing and implementing participatory exercises to engage local stakeholders in envisioning how sites could be designed and in contemplating community benefits thresholds needed for the Coalition to lend support to a project
- Supporting efforts to educate and inspire the broader community to get involved and ultimately bring in more stakeholders
- Supporting advocacy efforts in the implementation of a pilot program to legalize informal units in basements and cellars