Dept. of City Planning Announces New Community Planning and Engagement Division

On February 23, 2023, the New York City Department of City Planning announced the creation of the Community Planning and Engagement Division within the department. The new division will consist of seven members and is tasked with getting community input on new policy developments handled by the Department of City Planning and related agencies.

Previously, the Department of City Planning sought community involvement on a limited number of policies. Now, the Planning and Engagement Division will seek input from communities regarding several different types of policies and projects, including affordable housing, job development, investments in infrastructure and community support services, and coordination for funding to address service-related issues such as park maintenance.

The Division’s goal is to enable active community engagement and holistic neighborhood planning. The Community Planning and Engagement Division will seek to support all policy and neighborhood planning proposals and civil infrastructure discussions in order to increase participation and foster a diversity of perspectives on decisions made within neighborhoods about the city’s future.

The Division also seeks to improve the Department of Planning’s online tools to increase public access to planning data, building on the successes from the Equitable Development Explorer- a website designed to facilitate public engagement around community development issues.

Another stated goal of the new Division is to build on the work of the Civic Engagement Studio that was officially established in 2021, which provides a curriculum for students to identify and engage with planning problems in their neighborhood.

The creation of the new Division was met with praise from Borough Presidents. “I’m glad that DCP has made it a priority to better engage residents in the planning process… I am hopeful that this is the start of a new chapter that puts community voices first…,” Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso said of the new Division. “…I am thrilled the Department of City Planning is showing its commitment to acting on New Yorkers’ needs, interests, and concerns by launching its Community Planning and Engagement Division.

Despite positive feedback, some community members expressed concerns that the Division was not inclusive enough of all community development policies.

“It is very disappointing that the new Community Engagement Division of City Planning intends to ignore the need for more schools, especially as over 300,000 students attended overcrowded schools last year…and the need for more school space in schools is especially critical now, given the new state law requiring that our schools begin reducing class size starting next fall,” the Executive Director of Class Size Matters, a non-profit organization advocating for smaller class sizes in New York City Schools, Leonie Haimson said of the creation of the new Division. “Clearly, the existing ULURP (city planning review) process has not worked to ensure that enough schools are built along with the new development. It is especially inexplicable given that officials say they want to get youths involved in this conversation too, many of whom experience the problems of overcrowded schools and classrooms every day.”

In response to the concern about the Division’s lack of purview regarding schools and class size, Deputy Press Secretary for the Department of City Planning, Joe Marvilli, said: “Community Planning and Engagement is dedicated to an open dialogue with the public on their needs, such as housing, jobs, and infrastructure, including schools. Even before this division was founded, the Department of City Planning worked with the Department of Education to find locations for new schools where appropriate in several neighborhood plans, such as East New York, Jerome Avenue, and Gowanus. We will continue to do so with stronger lines of communication between city agencies and New Yorkers thanks to the Community Planning and Engagement team.”

The Division will work closely with the Department of Planning and its related agencies to enable New Yorkers’ active participation in community and neighborhood planning. The new division is part of Mayor Eric Adam’s “City of Yes” initiative that seeks to make New York City a greener, more prosperous, and more equitable city. Read further coverage on the “City of Yes” initiative here.

By: Vanessa Cameron (Vanessa is a CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2024.)



2 thoughts on “Dept. of City Planning Announces New Community Planning and Engagement Division

  1. I am a member of Brooklyn Community Board 14 and don’t understand why you’re not using the existing community board structure to elicit all of the community input you need. We are the heart of each of the 59 community districts in New York and know how to reach people.
    This adding of another layer of bureaucracy seems to me to be an unnecessary expense.

  2. I wonder if the problem of identifying models of taxis in the city could be sent to a department of the City Planning related agency. If there is no related agency I suggest there should be. My sister has very bad arthritic and I am not far behind her in developing it. We have trouble/will have trouble getting into and out of certain taxis. Despite some thought having gone into some wonderful models it is impossible to make sure that the taxi and pulls up for us be one we can get indo.

    It seems to me this should be a universal requirement of all city commercial cabs. It serves many a lot of frustration and is shaming.

    Please reply to me. This is a serious matter.

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