On January 24, Fellows joined us for a half-day forum on the recent progress and lessons learned from the East Midtown Rezoning.

New York City rezoned East Midtown in 2017 to uplift its aging office district. Under previous rules, building heights were severely limited, deterring redevelopment in the neighborhood. After an extensive stakeholder process, the East Midtown Plan devised creative tools to balance new office towers with greater public benefits.

Three years later, several new projects are beginning to rise, including One Vanderbilt, Tower Fifth, and the redevelopment of 270 Park Avenue. In exchange for greater density, development now supports transit improvements, public space investment and landmark restoration across the district. How might the East Midtown Plan inspire future rezonings to tie public benefits into new development? How could its stakeholder process shape future community plans citywide?


Event photos ↓


Program ↓

Lunch & Registration, 12:30 – 1:00pm
Lunch will be served at 12:30pm and remain available throughout the program. The event will begin promptly at 1:00pm.

East Midtown Plan & New Projects, 1:00 – 2:00pm
How should we balance historic preservation with the demand for new office development and open space?

Speakers: Jake Elghanayan, Dan Garodnick, Edith Hsu-Chen

Co-Benefits & New Development, 2:00 – 2:45pm
How might the East Midtown Plan offer replicable tools for other neighborhood rezonings to create greater public benefits with new development?

Speaker: Margaret Newman
Respondents: Michelle de la Uz, Bob Paley, Laura Wolf-Powers

Power & Politics, 3:00 – 3:45pm
How could the East Midtown Rezoning serve to define future community and stakeholder engagement in other neighborhood plans?

Speaker: John Shapiro
Respondents: Elizabeth Goldstein, Andrea Goldwyn, Adam Lubinsky, Raju Mann

One Vanderbilt Tour, 4:00 – 5:30pm (Optional)
Tour One Vanderbilt and the Grand Central Terminal improvements delivered as a result of the project.

Speakers: Bob Paley, James von Klemperer
Due to limited tour capacity, we can only provide a single spot with each RSVP.


Our Sponsors ↓

This program is made possible through the support of Citi Community Development and our Director’s Circle and Fellows.

Shape our year-long inquiry and promote conversation between our Fellows and invited decision-makers on developing a progressive agenda for the built environment. To learn more, please contact Daniel McPhee, Executive Director, 646-928-0553, daniel@urbandesignforum.org.


About Shape Shift

East Midtown Precinct Study is the fourth event for our Shape Shift series, a year-long inquiry into the current state of planning in New York City. As we approach the mayoral election cycle, the Forum will revisit historic planning shifts, survey international cities, and debate alternative approaches on ways the next mayor should shape the built environment to build a more equitable city.

Image Credits ↓
1) CC0 Public Domain
2) Dimitry B. / Flickr
3) Jean-Christophe BENOIST / Wikimedia Commons
4) Creative Commons
5) SL Green