Planetizen Interview With Amanda Burden

Amanda_Burden_014b.jpgPlanetizen publishes a Q&A with New York City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden. She says some great things and below are excerpts.

After reading this interview, the question I come away with is, simply: Where in the world has Amanda Burden been during the discussion of the "Atlantic Yards" development in Brooklyn? How could it be that such an important voice has been so utterly silent during such a significant development process? 

One of the big issues confronting us in the future is energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. This is not an abstract concern for us. Think of what even just a one foot rise in sea-level could do to a coastal city like New York…

New York is already the least auto-dependent city in the United States, so hopefully other cities are will be following our example. Still, there are some areas, such as Bus Rapid Transit and an expanded network of bike paths where other cities are ahead of us

One of the biggest challenges facing New York City is its growing population. Although we are by far the densest city in the country and already built out to our edges, our population is at a record high and still growing… We have sought to promote growth in a more sustainable manner, emphasizing growth near the City’s extensive transit system while limiting growth in more automobile-oriented neighborhoods.

Planetizen askes, "What colleague had the most influence on you as a planner?" Burden says:

Holly Whyte. He understood that the quality of life in a city and everything that goes into it is the key to a city’s success and desirability. He demonstrated that the street is the barometer of the health of city life, and that every new development must have a dynamic connection with the street to ensure its vitality

There is no such thing as successful planning or a good plan without real, ongoing community involvement. An engaged community is what makes a neighborhood work.

Photo: Timothy Fadek

  • Boogiedown

    “How could it be that such an important voice has been so utterly silent during such a significant development process?”

    Don’t be fooled by the dollar salary: hers is a POLITICAL voice.

  • Matthew

    While it sounds real peachy to say that “There is no such thing as successful planning or a good plan without real, ongoing community involvement,” what part of NYC planning happens with real community input?? The only chance the community has to weigh in on plans is at the (D)EIS level, and by then it’s only a reactive “up or down” option.

    197 a Plans?? Forget about it, only advisory. Even the connection to the street that Holly Whyte would have advocated for only seems to matter if it raises the value of the property. Similar to Bloomberg, she says great populist things in public, then operates in the dark where the public cannot tread.

  • someguy

    Unfortunately I have to agree with Boogiedown and Matthew on both of their points.

    Either way, the DCP and Planning Commission have been overshadowed since the beginning of Bloomberg’s term by the top-secret, top-down, corporate development-driven approach to planning of this administration. They may see themselves as populists but it’s easy to be wildly disconnected in your perception of yourself when you’re a wealthy individual at the top of the city’s pyramid of power.

  • Boogiedown

    “Where in the world has Amanda Burden been during the discussion of the “Atlantic Yards” development in Brooklyn?”

    Apparently, chumming it up with Ratner! I attended the Jane Jacobs vs Robert Moses panel discussion this evening at the Graduate Center, and you should have seen her performance. Let’s just say: she likey!

  • Nicolo Macchiavelli

    She shares with Bloomberg an ultra-rich pedigree. Give me back the corrupt urban bosses driven by the need to grab the votes of local neighborhood machers. Atlantic Center could have been stopped by George Washington Plunkett. Moses to Doctoroff, wealthy reformers, have not given the neighborhoods more power. Quite the opposite.


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