Dept. of City Planning Releases “Principle of Good Urban Design” Guidebook

On March 4, 2024, the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Dan Garodnick announced the release of the ‘Principles of Good Urban Design’, an illustrated guidebook that strives to make New York City’s urban design principles clear and understandable to the public. The goal of the guidebook is to inspire all New Yorkers to put the principles of good urban design into action in their own communities.

The guidebook answers common questions such as what urban design means and how planners consider key factors into their planning such as public input, environmental needs, and neighborhood history and culture. The guidebook also highlights the benefits of urban planning such as the impact on physical and mental health and an increase in economic activity.

The Principles of Good Urban Design will aid in the effort to democratize urban planning and introduce shared values and language for New Yorkers to use when evaluating, discussing, and advocating for improvements in the city’s landscapes. The four main principles are: enhancing daily lives, caring for a neighborhood’s culture, history, and identity, embracing NYC’S dynamism, and confronting society’s greatest challenges. The guidebook serves as an expansion of the initial guidelines published in 2017.

Department of City Planning Director Dan Garodnick said, “New Yorkers know their neighborhoods better than anyone and it’s vital that we supply them with the planning tools to advocate for their priorities. With these Principles of Good Urban Design, we’re providing the public with a roadmap to improve the way our city looks and feels. Through these resources, we can all work together to get to yes on a more dynamic, greener, and more welcoming city.

Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice Executive Director Elijah Hutchinson said, “As New York City continues to execute complex coastal infrastructure and other climate projects while building in play, community, and open space access, this guidebook will be a critical tool. Most important, it can be used by community leaders to advocate for air, noise, and extreme heat mitigation, which is especially important for those disproportionately burdened by climate hazards.”

New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Adolfo Carrión Jr. said, “Community involvement is foundational to building strong and vibrant neighborhoods and every New Yorker must have the opportunity to participate in shaping the future of our city. The Principles of Good Urban Design will serve as a powerful tool driving inclusive development that’s greener, more accessible, and safe, while celebrating the city’s history, culture, and identity.”

Howard Slatkin, Executive Director of Citizens Housing and Planning Council said, “New York City’s diverse population is ever-changing. And the design of our city must continue to evolve along with it. In a city of 8.5 million residents and twice that many opinions, resources like this guidebook can provide a great public service by grounding our conversations and debates in a shared language that we can use to improve public design for our common benefit.”

By: Meg Beauregard (Meg is the CityLaw intern, and a New York Law School student, Class of 2024).

New York City Department of City Planning (DCP): “Department of City Planning Releases Principles of Good Urban Design Guidebook” (March 4, 2024).


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