Remarkably, grassroots-based community planning flourishes in New York City—the self-proclaimed "real estate capital of the world"—with at least seventy community plans for different neighborhoods throughout the city. Most of these were developed during fierce struggles against gentrification, displacement, and environmental hazards, and most got little or no support from government. In fact, community-based plans in New York far outnumber the land-use plans produced by government agencies.
In New York for Sale, Tom Angotti tells some of the stories of community planning in New York City: how activists moved beyond simple protests and began to formulate community plans to protect neighborhoods against urban renewal, real estate mega-projects, gentrification, and environmental hazards.
Angotti, both observer of and longtime participant in New York community planning, focuses on the close relationships among community planning, political strategy, and control over land. After describing the political economy of New York City real estate, its close ties to global financial capital, and the roots of community planning in social movements and community organizing, Angotti turns to specifics. He tells of two pioneering plans forged in reaction to urban renewal plans (including the first community plan in the city, the 1961 Cooper Square Alternate Plan—a response to a Robert Moses urban renewal scheme); struggles for environmental justice, including battles over incinerators, sludge, and garbage; plans officially adopted by the city; and plans dominated by powerful real estate interests. Finally, Angotti proposes strategies for progressive, inclusive community planning not only for New York City but for anywhere that neighborhoods want to protect themselves and their land. New York for Sale teaches the empowering lesson that community plans can challenge market-driven development even in global cities with powerful real estate industries.
About the Author
Tom Angotti is Director of the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development and Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning at Hunter College, City University of New York. He is the author of Metropolis 2000: Planning, Poverty, and Politics, the coeditor of Progressive Planning Magazine, and a columnist for the online journal Gotham Gazette.
"In New York for Sale Tom Angotti places his deep knowledge of New York's development policy, his years of active personal involvement, and his strategies for achieving greater equity within a sustained narrative. The book is welcome reading for everyone who has followed his incisive commentaries on development conflicts in the city over the years. His acute observations of the threat to community residents underlying the drive for 'global competitiveness' and his analysis of the tactics available to progressive community planners constitute essential reading for everyone concerned with using planning as a means to obtaining a more just and democratic city."
—Susan S. Fainstein, Department of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
"New York for Sale is the book that progressive planners have been waiting for. It dynamites the myths of consensus planning and participatory planning while simultaneously offering hope for social and environmental justice via struggle, conflict, and genuine participatory democracy."
—Leonie Sandercock, Professor in Urban Planning and Social Policy, University of British Columbia
"Too many books focus merely on the problems of center cities or proposeplanning solutions only applicable in greenfield sites. Angotti chronicles asignificant alternative—the 100 or more community-based plans developed inNew York City since the 1960s. This is an important and compelling story of'urban policy from the bottom-up.'"
—Ann Forsyth, Department of City & Regional Planning, Cornell University
"New York for Sale is an insightful excursion through the neighborhoods of the neo-liberal city. Progressive yet dispassionate, this book is not simply an invaluable critique of the depredations of urban capital, it is laced with sensible and necessary prescriptions for the reassertion of the right to the city by those who make their lives here."
—Michael Sorkin, Director, Graduate Urban Design Program, City College of New York
Winner, 2009 Paul Davidoff award given by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP)