Planning for Economic Development

Economic development – including improving access to good job opportunities, encouraging private investment, and supporting the tax base that enables the City to deliver services – is a priority of Mayor de Blasio’s Administration and underpins many of the Department of City Planning’s (DCP) planning strategies and initiatives. Under New York Works, the Mayor’s plan to catalyze 100,000 quality jobs through City investments and direct actions, DCP and fellow agencies are working together to support job growth, innovation, and economic opportunity for all New Yorkers.

Economic opportunity is intricately connected with population trends. People choose where they live in part based on where jobs are growing and where they can get to them easily. At the same time, businesses will choose to locate in places where they can have access to a customer base and a workforce with skills that match their needs.

Today, private employment and population in the city are both at all-time highs, and in recent years have increased faster than in the rest of the region. The rapid job gains since the end of the financial crisis are both a cause and outcome of population growth in the city. Growth has increased and diversified employment opportunities in the city and spurred reinvestment in communities in all five boroughs, and has also increased demand for housing and services, increasing pressure on the city’s housing supply and transportation infrastructure. 

Although the city’s primary Central Business Districts in Midtown and Lower Manhattan still account for the majority of recent job gains, employment gains have accelerated outside the CBDs. These changing patterns require revisiting land use regulations that have often been in place for a half-century or longer. DCP and fellow agencies have been advancing a number of projects and initiatives that will create more room for balanced job growth. In places like Downtown Brooklyn, Long Island City and Greater East Midtown, targeted developments and zoning changes aim to spur employment growth near regional transit infrastructure, to help grow jobs in highly transit-accessible centers. Zoning for industrial areas seeks to redirect growth to locations within closer proximity to transit while ensuring that intensively used industrial areas offer adequate siting opportunities for necessary industries like construction, distribution, transportation and manufacturing. Through neighborhood planning initiatives, the City is also identifying ways to increase housing supply and affordability together with access to job opportunities in historically underserved communities, including East New York in Brooklyn, and Jerome Avenue in the Bronx.

DCP conducts research and analysis on economic development and related issues with citywide planning implications, using large administrative data sets, surveys, and public outreach. The Department works closely with other agencies to help achieve the Mayor’s economic development goals through citywide and local initiatives, including the Department of Small Business Services (SBS), the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC), and numerous other agencies.

Below are some of DCP’s key strategies and initiatives to show what we’re doing to help plan for even more economic development in New York City.

M1 Hotel Text Amendment - As New York City’s population and employment numbers hit record highs, competition for scarce buildable land is growing especially strong. Light Manufacturing zoning districts present some of the city’s last reservoirs of buildable land, but in the last decade, there has been rapid increase in hotels in these areas. Accordingly, the NYC Department of City Planning proposes a zoning text amendment to require a CPC Special Permit for new hotels within M1 districts, to achieve of a balanced mix of uses and jobs in neighborhoods and ensure that sufficient opportunities to support industrial, commercial, residential and institutional growth remain.

PDF Document Middle Wage Jobs in NYC presents the major findings of an analysis of occupation and wage data that provides detailed information on the employment and wage opportunities across different economic sectors for workers with different levels of education.

PDF Document Employment Growth Info Brief describes recent job growth in a wide range of sectors and where these jobs are located around the five boroughs.

Self-storage Text Amendment - In November 2015, Mayor de Blasio announced a 10-point Industrial Action Plan, which aims to strengthen NYC’s most active industrial areas, invest in industrial and manufacturing businesses, and advance workforce development opportunities for New Yorkers. In this context, self-storage facilities are seen as a low job-generating use that occupies sites, which could provide future siting opportunities for industrial, more job-intensive businesses. As a result, the NYC Department of City Planning proposes a zoning text amendment to require a CPC Special Permit for new self-storage facilities within NYC’s most active industrial areas.

PDF Document Recent Employment Patterns in New York City from a Historical and Geographic Point of View - Based on quantitative research done by the NYC Department of City Planning, this analytical report demonstrates a decades-long shift towards the services industry. In post-recession NYC, 500,000 private sector jobs have been added and the unemployment rate is on pace to be at a record 40-year low. And the growth is diverse, both in terms of the types of jobs and location of the jobs, in almost every neighborhood in all five boroughs. This data provides an important context for developing public policy and aligning land use planning with economic growth.

PDF Document Employment in New York City’s Manufacturing Districts - This report examines recent employment trends in NYC's industrial areas. Its quantitative insights will help the City implement its 10-point Industrial Action Plan announced by Mayor de Blasio in November 2015. Various data for 2000, 2008, 2010 and 2014 showed high growth in both industrial and other jobs in the manufacturing (M) districts outside Manhattan. Although net non-industrial-sector jobs grew more from 2000-2014, M Districts remain predominantly industrial, particularly in Industrial Business Zones.

PLACES: Neighborhood Planning Studies are comprehensive studies that examine and address key land use and zoning issues in a variety of neighborhoods, but also take a broader look at current and future community needs to identify a wide range of strategies and investments that accompany the land use and zoning changes and support neighborhood-specific growth and vitality.

DCP prepares federal- and city charter-mandated documents, such as the New York City Consolidated Plan, Consolidated Plan Annual Performance Report, and the Annual Report on Social Indicators.

The Greater East Midtown rezoning is designed to support the long-term growth of the area as a premier business district. This as-of-right framework would promote modern, sustainable office development, help preserve landmarked buildings, facilitate upgrades to the area's transit infrastructure, and provide a plan for more pedestrian-friendly streets and public spaces.

The North Brooklyn Industry and Innovation Plan will identify ways to update M-district zoning to support growth of modern workspace for industry and office-based businesses.

Vanderbilt Corridor, adopted with modifications on May 27, 2015. this text amendment facilitates commercial development along Madison and Vanderbilt avenues in Manhattan, improves pedestrian circulation within Grand Central Terminal and its vicinity, and allows greater opportunity for area landmarks to transfer unused development rights.

Resilient Industry initiative assesses vulnerability to flooding in industrial areas of New York City and proposes strategies that individual businesses and the City can pursue to make industrial areas and surrounding communities more resilient.

Resilient Retail considers the unique characteristics of commercial retail corridors located within New York City’s floodplain and the specific risks and opportunities each faces to manage flood risk and strengthen the vitality of retail corridors and neighborhoods.

The Inner Ring Parking Studies examined the relationship between the cost of providing parking, residents’ choices about vehicles, and zoning requirements, This helped then guide policy and inform future discussions about land use and parking in Upper Manhattan, the South Bronx, western Queens, and northern and central Brooklyn.