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Construction & Design

City unveils plan to make Gowanus clean and green

A re-zoned Gowanus will be cleaner, greener and more inclusive, according to a new framework for development released last week.

The document is a pre-cursor to re-zoning the gritty neighborhood where the canal has gone from a liability to an attraction as interest in both working and living in the canal area has returned.

The report produced by a working group led by the Department of City Planning noted the rise in commercial businesses, offices and other uses that serve the surrounding residential communities have increased alongside longtime artists and industrial uses.

Strong demand for housing citywide has played out locally by pushing up prices and limiting housing that is affordable for households at lower incomes.

The framework puts a priority of resiliency, where buildings and infrastructure are
designed to manage flood risk today and into the future.

The plan also calls for increased public open space that is green and resilient along the Canal and capitalizing on opportunities to green public spaces throughout the area.

Other recommendations include:

Creating new job-generating space and fostering a mix of uses within the neighborhood so that residents can live, work, create, play and shop, and all users can reach their destinations by walking, bicycling or other means;

Promoting new, denser housing – creating and preserving affordable housing – and improving public housing near public transit will reduce energy use and carbon footprint;

Improving access to new jobs, training opportunities and other resources that support social, economic and environmental resiliency in the community;

Improving mobility and safety for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers on streets and public areas;

Planning for meeting the infrastructure and community resources needs of a growing neighborhood
In a statement, the city called the recommendations “a road map for Gowanus to become a sustainable, model green neighborhood where a wholly unique resource – the Canal – can thrive and play an active role in promoting equitable and sustainable growth.”

The city will host an open house to discuss this framework plan on Wednesday, June 27, from 5-8:30 p.m. at P.S. 32, located at 317 Hoyt Street.

The aim to to have a zoning plan ready by this winter.

“We are not naive: issues of growth and development in New York City are complex, and not everyone will agree,” said City Council members Brad Lander, and Stephen Levin, in a joint statement.

“And we know there is much hard work still to come. But we believe this framework gets the balance right for thoughtful growth with truly shared benefits.”

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