Thursday, July 13, 2006

Former Planning Commissioner Roasts Atlantic Yards


Former City Planning Commissioner Ron Shiffman has joined the Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn Advisory Board and has unloaded with a withering critique of the Atlantic Yards plan. "Forest City Ratner (FCR) and, by extension, the City and State of New York, continue to follow a process that is fundamentally flawed in pursuit of a plan that, if implemented, would scar the borough for decades to come," Shiffman writes in an essay posted by DDDB.

He goes on to suggest that density of the project would be so great and the design so "oversized" that the impact on residents would be "inhumane." Mr. Shiffman insists that he is not anti-development and says he even likes the idea of having a basketball team in Brooklyn, but he argues that Atlantic Yards will be a world-class planning disaster.

"I fear Forest City Ratner’s proposal will become the Brooklyn equivalent of Pruitt-Igoe, the notorious St. Louis public housing towers that have since been demolished," he writes. "Quite frankly I do not believe that any of the decision makers from the Borough President to the Governor have a grasp on how overwhelming and out-of-scale this development is."

Pruitt-Igoe is a planner code word for a project that is beyond awful, for something that is so fatally flawed that the only solution is blowing it up and, then, showing the video to an entire generation of planning students as a warning. That's Pruitt-Igoe coming down, of course, in the photo above.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's an interesting comparison but I don't see how it fits. The wikipedia eplaination of what happened in St. Louis points to elements such as a lack of demand for inner city housing, a faltering economy due to the war, and a mismanaged project. It doesn't get into any issues regarding the design, scale, etc. as contributing to the failure of the project so I fail to see the relevancy to this project in that regard.

4:09 PM  
Blogger rsguskind said...

Design and scale of Pruitt-Igoe were and parcel of the problem. While there isn't a direct correlation, clearly, between Pruitt and Atlantic Yards (except the density and design issues would raise some questions), the symbolic comparison is a valid one. If you read it as "Pruitt-Igoe=Failure," it's a valid comparison if one's intention is to say "Atlantic Yards=Failure."

1:08 PM  

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