The Bushwick Community Plan is a coordinated, collaborative planning effort of community residents, stakeholders, City Council Members Reynoso and Espinal, and City agencies to promote a thriving and inclusive neighborhood with strategies for affordable housing, economic development, community resources and land use and zoning changes.
New York City is experiencing an unprecedented housing and affordability crisis as a result of an inability of new housing construction to keep pace with the demands of a growing population and workforce. Without a steady supply of new housing, renters in all neighborhoods will continue to feel the squeeze of a tightening housing market. To help keep New Yorkers in their homes, the City has dramatically increased resources for tenant protections and legal assistance and is making unprecedented investments in preserving existing affordable housing and constructing new affordable housing, with tools such as Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (“MIH”). MIH requires affordable housing as part of new development in areas that have been rezoned to promote new housing.
As part of this trend, Bushwick has seen dramatically rising demand for housing, with rents rising quickly - Bushwick rents increased almost twice as fast (60%) as the borough (38%) and citywide (32%) from 2000 to 2016. In addition, over half of Bushwick households are burdened by high housing costs, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing (half of these households spend more than 50% of their income on rent).1 The housing market has responded to these rising rents with new buildings – permits for over 4,200 new dwelling units were issued from 2011 to 2017.2
Current zoning in parts of Bushwick does permit new housing, which is important to ease the housing crunch, but it does not distinguish between areas where more substantial development would be appropriate and areas with a consistent fabric of small rowhouses. Current zoning also does not include requirements for affordable housing. As a result, Bushwick has seen the construction of many new market-rate residential buildings in scattered locations in recent years, and only limited affordable housing development, primarily on a few remaining City-owned sites, those controlled by mission-driven developers, or in areas recently rezoned with incentives for the inclusion of low-income housing. To accommodate increasing demand for housing in Bushwick we have been working with the community to identify areas for growth and new affordable housing.
1. United States Census, American Community Survey, NYU Furman Center
2. NYC Department of City Planning
The Bushwick Community Plan has grown out of a community planning process spearheaded in 2014 by Brooklyn Community Board 4 jointly with Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal in response to concerns about new out-of-character development in the neighborhood. The Council Members invited residents to create a vision for Bushwick’s future at a series of visioning town hall meetings and zoning workshops in 2014-2016. This process identified priority issues, including: affordable housing, transportation, infrastructure, parks, neighborhood character, economic development, and public health and safety. A Steering Committee of local stakeholders was established to delve deeper into the ideas shared by Bushwick residents and help design and lead the planning process.
Building on the 2014-2016 community planning process, the Bushwick Steering Committee, Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal, and City agencies, led by the Department of City Planning, are working together with community residents and stakeholders to:
The Department of City Planning, together with other City agencies, the Bushwick Community Plan Steering Committee, City Council staff and local organizations held a series of summits, working sessions and subcommittee meetings from August 2014 to spring 2018 to gather community input and develop a shared vision for Bushwick’s future.
Summit Materials and Feedback Summaries, Spring 2017
In spring 2017, four large public workshops, jointly facilitated by City agency staff and the Bushwick Community Plan Steering Committee, drew hundreds of Bushwick residents to provide feedback on their vision for the future of the neighborhood.
Land Use Working Sessions, Summer 2017
Over the summer of 2017, DCP led a series of eight joint working sessions with the land use, housing, and economic development sub-committees to develop a shared vision and goals for each of the neighborhood’s sub-areas.
Additional Meetings, 2018
Through a series of over 150 events, including sub-committee meetings, summits and workshops, the Department of City Planning (DCP), the Bushwick Community Plan Steering Committee, members of Community Board 4, and other local stakeholders, together have been working to refine the above shared goals into specific land use objectives to guide a long-term vision for the future of Bushwick.
The resulting DCP land use objectives, based on the agency’s analysis and on-going outreach and shared at Bushwick Community Plan meetings, recognize the area’s varied context and aim to meet multiple objectives while proactively planning for the neighborhood’s future.
DCP’s land use objectives:
If pursued, the above land use and zoning objectives would be paired with strategies to create new affordable housing, in addition to the identification of critical neighborhood investments that would accommodate additional residential density. Alongside the development of this land use framework, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has worked closely with the BCP Steering Committee and other local stakeholders to develop a set of strategies to preserve existing affordable housing in the neighborhood, which are currently in progress. These strategies include efforts to finance and safeguard affordability, promote safe and healthy housing, and protect tenants. The map below represents a template for future development in Bushwick based on these land use objectives.
A more in-depth analysis of the existing land use and economic conditions in Bushwick that shaped the industrial areas framework can be viewed in the Bushwick Industrial Areas Analysis.
Community engagement is key to the development and implementation of the Bushwick Community Plan. There are many opportunities to get involved throughout the planning process as DCP along with other City agencies, Council Members Espinal and Reynoso, and the Bushwick Steering Committee hold town halls, workshops, and stakeholder meetings.
The Steering Committee for the Bushwick Community Plan includes representatives from Bushwick’s many community-based organizations, members of Community Board 4, local homeowners, business owners, and interested residents. The Steering Committee is organized into six Sub-Committees:
These groups work directly with City agencies, including the Departments of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD), Parks and Recreation (DPR), Transportation (DOT), Small Business Services (SBS), Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), and more.
All are welcome and encouraged to participate by joining a sub-committee, attending upcoming Town Halls and public workshops, and contacting us with your ideas. Sign up for our email list or visit the Get Involved page to receive regular updates and information about upcoming events.
For more information about the Bushwick Community Plan and the Steering Committee, check New York City Council’s webpage.
We welcome your comments, ideas, and questions about the Bushwick Community Plan. Please use the feedback form to ask questions and share your ideas.
To contact the Dept. of City Planning for more information, or to request a small group meeting, reach out to the DCP Brooklyn Office at 1-718-780-8280 or BushwickCommunityPlan@planning.nyc.gov.