Brooklyn Waterfront Transformations: Can you plan "hip"?

Monday, May 8, 2017 | 1:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.
CM | 4
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You'll learn about:

  • An understanding about integration of different uses, and how planning approaches to this are changing.

  • Understand the variety of ways that waterfront open space is integrated with new development and the benefits and drawbacks of various approaches.

  • Understand the role of key programs as urban development catalysts

  • Understand the role of zoning in spurring and shaping development.

  • Understand the changing relationship of new housing to old industrial and new maker economies.

  • Understand a variety of approaches to waterfront flooding resiliency

The tour will cover the recent redevelopment of the Williamsburg and Greenpoint waterfronts, moving from older more established residential developments, to ones that are merely in the planning stages.  Topics will include:

- Rezoning and the role of zoning in catalyzing and shaping development.  The 2005 rezoning of the waterfront was a success in catalyzing new residential development, but is it now creating a residential monoculture?  How are newer development like the Greenpoint Terminal Market trying to change this with new approaches to mixed use?


- Open Space and the role of open space in planning and development.  The waterfront plan requires significant amounts of open space and access to the waterfront.  Some of it is built by developers, some of it by the city.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?  Some planned open spaces (Bushwick Inlet Park extension) have gotten bogged in a conflict between the City and private land owners, to the outrage of local community groups. Other (Transmitter Park extension) are taking an alternate approach.  What lessons can be learned about how cities can go about creating new parks to accompany new development?


- Catalysts.  What key uses can work as catalysts for development?  From temporary uses like the Smorgasburg food market, to permanent ones like Brooklyn Bowl, the Wythe Hotel, or the Brooklyn Expo.  How do these uses energize neighborhoods and act as the leading edge of transformation without triggering resistance or resentment?  Can parks and open space be a catalyst?  How do new uses remain "authentic" to their neighborhoods?


- Resiliency.  How are new projects helping to provide flood protection?  What are the pros and cons of site-wide vs. building-specific strategies.

The Williamsburg and Greenpoint watefronts offer a living labratory of different approaches to urban transformations, and walking the neighborhoods lets you see both the results and the transformations in process.


Stephen Whitehouse , AICP , Starr Whitehouse PLLC , New York , NY (see bio)
Jack Robbins , FXFOWLE , New York , NY (see bio)