Atlantic Yards would be the largest single developement project in Brooklyn’s history. As originally proposed in 2003, it was to have implanted a professional basketball arena and thousands of luxury housing units in the midst of three historic Brooklyn neighborhoods. As of 2012, only the arena has been built and the rest of the project has been postponed, perhaps indefinitely. In the meantime thousands of residents and businesses were forced to move and their buildings demolished.
From the start, CCPD worked with local neighborhood groups to prevent the displacement of local residents and businesses and make development more responsive to neighborhood needs.
What was wrong with the planning process:
Developer Forest City Ratner (FCR) evaded the local land use review process by getting the Empire State Development Corporation to sponsor their project. The environmental impact review was the only venue left open to the community.
CCPD worked with neighborhood groups in a PARTICIPATORY ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW and later an alternative community-based plan, the UNITY plan.
When FCR’s consultants came out with their Draft Scope of Work, outlining what the environmental impacts they would analyze, we worked with neighborhood groups to flesh out what was missing. With support from City Council Member Leticia James and in collaboration with the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, CCPD worked with a team of consultants to analyze the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and outline what was wrong and missing.
CCPD Director Tom Angotti, in collaboration with the architect Marshall Brown and Pratt Institute Professor Ron Shiffman, organized a day-long session to update the community plan for development over the rail yards – an alternative to FCR’s Atlantic Yards that would have provided significant jobs and affordable housing but without displacing current residents and businesses.
Professor Angotti's articles on Atlantic Yards were originally published on-line in Gotham Gazette. See:
Through the Looking Glass (2005)
Atlantic Yards, A Done Deal (2007)
The documentary Brooklyn Matters vividly illustrates the enormous problems with the FCR plan.