Faculty Director Vicki Been Testifies at Charter Revision Expert Forum

Research & Policy | March 26th 2019

Furman Center Logo over buildings

On March 21st, Furman Center Faculty Director Vicki Been testified on a Land Use expert panel before the 2019 NYC Charter Revision Commission. Her testimony focused on proposed changes to the city charter that would require the city to develop a comprehensive plan that sets long-term development goals. Been raised concerns about the proposal, noting that the city already carries out a significant amount of planning, and it is unclear how a comprehensive plan would differ from the city’s many efforts. She emphasized that the there is no clear agreed upon definition of comprehensive planning and that submitting such an ambiguous concept to a vote could prove confusing and dangerous for New York City and its voters. 

Been also expressed that charter revision should do no harm and that the Commission should adhere to that principle in its deliberations. She described a “growing consensus across land-use and urban policy experts” about the growth-limiting effects of land-use regulations, including planning. That consensus warns of potentially negative consequences, given that onerous regulations lead to protracted and more costly review processes for new development. Been noted that recent evidence, though incomplete, indicates that comprehensive planning is, at best, not very helpful in achieving housing affordability. Been closed her testimony by noting that other high cost cities around the nation have comprehensive plans but continue to have major challenges with creating affordable housing.

Watch the video (advance to 1:35:30 for Professor Been’s testimony)

Read Professor Been’s remarks (PDF: 176 KB) >>

Learn more about the land use issues under discussion by the Commission.

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