DCP rolls out interactive urban design website

The Department of City Planning’s new website offers opportunities for New Yorkers to share ideas and feedback for updated “Principles of Good Urban Design.”
Photo courtesy NYC Dept. of Planning

The NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) is encouraging New Yorkers to get involved in its new interactive website with its update of the principles of good urban design as the city works toward a more equitable, inclusive future.

In September, DCP announced the launch of an interactive urban design website for the public to collaborate on updating the Principles of Good Urban Design, a resource that helps New Yorkers advocate for their communities and shape their urban environment.

Urban design is a key aspect of any building or project that helps to physically shape a community. Bronx projects like La Central and the Universal Hip Hop Museum are examples of the positive impact good urban design can have. This new website provides guidance on how the public can participate in planning processes and urban design, including through a survey, discussion board and space to share photos/stories, while also providing explainers on technical design concepts. The site acts as a supplement for ongoing discussions with communities around planning and urban design

“An inclusive approach to urban design is essential to making our neighborhoods the best they can be,” said DCP Executive Director Anita Laremont. “As we continue to build a public realm that’s healthier, more welcoming and more equitable for everyone to use and enjoy, we want more New Yorkers to get involved. To that end, we’re going to the experts, New Yorkers themselves! Please visit our new website to share your ideas on good urban design and help us create a vision for a more vibrant city for decades to come.”

As an introduction, an animated video in English and Spanish illustrates how urban design affects the experience of the city. Educational materials on the site encourage New Yorkers to take action on urban design and planning priorities, including an infographic with tips and resources to help citizens develop their ideas and navigate government.

Feedback received through the Principles of Good Urban Design website, and at related events over the next several months, will inform DCP’s coming and updated “Principles of Good Urban Design,” which was first released in 2017. The updated guide is expected to be finalized and released next year.

“The Public Design Commission applauds the Department of City Planning staff for their ongoing efforts to democratize New York City’s design process,” said Public Design Commission Executive Director Keri Butler. “These tools and engagement opportunities will encourage community members to become involved in developing public design principles, resulting in a more equitable and thoughtfully planned City.”

This digital platform is one of many DCP has produced over the past several years as part of its commitment toward increased accessibility and transparency for the public through well-designed, open source, web-based tools, including:

  • Community District Profiles, which provide a robust, intuitive graphical overview of each of the 59 Community Districts, and handy comparison charts.
  • Facilities Explorer, which provides an intuitive interface to explore where all city or state facilities lie within New York City, and who they serve.
  • Population Factfinder, which provides any New Yorker the ability to quickly understand the demographics of any part of the five boroughs, and a range of deeper research options.
  • ZAP, which makes details and status of all land use applications directly available to the public through an intuitive, searchable map-based interface.
  • ZoLa, which provide zoning districts and associated information for any lot in the city.

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