Bushwick Neighborhood Planning Study

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.

Recent Trends

Bushwick has undergone significant changes in recent years with new buildings being built at a rapid pace and rents rising quickly. Meanwhile, current zoning regulations have remained largely unchanged since 1961 and allow for tall (and out-of-character) buildings to be built in the middle of blocks lined with two-to-three story rowhouses. Current zoning 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 haphazard construction of many new market-rate residential buildings in recent years and only minimal affordable housing development on a few remaining City-owned sites or in areas recently rezoned with incentives for the inclusion of low-income housing.

Locator Map

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:

  • Plan thoughtfully about how and where development should happen;
  • Create and preserve housing that is affordable to low-income New Yorkers;
  • Maintain Bushwick’s character and allow for growth in appropriate locations;
  • Increase opportunities for small businesses to grow and locate in Bushwick;
  • Identify open space, infrastructure, transportation, and other neighborhood needs and opportunities for improvements.

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.

  • Industrial Areas Walking Tour: April 27, 2017
  • Planning Framework Update: May 10, 2017
  • Industrial Working Session Working Session 1: May 31, 2017
  • Transit Corridor Working Session 1: June 29, 2017
  • Industrial Working Session Working Session 2: July 6, 2017
  • Transit Corridor Working Session 2: July 17, 2017
  • Midblock Working Session: August 14, 2017
  • Industrial Working Session Working Session 3: August 3, 2017
  • Industrial Working Session Working Session 4: August 22, 2017
  • Neighborhood Corridor Working Session: August 28, 2017

Additional Meetings, 2018

  • Steering Committee Meeting: February 15, 2018
    • DCP presented an updated Planning Framework based on an analysis of neighborhood needs and opportunities as well as the community priorities heard at the public meetings and working sessions.

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:

  • Preserve neighborhood character on side streets (i.e. mid-blocks) by limiting height to low-scale residential buildings
  • Allow for modest growth with affordable and mixed income housing and retail on east-west avenues, where appropriate
  • Promote higher density mixed-use development with affordable and mixed income housing, retail, and community facilities on avenues close to transit
  • Reinforce job-generating uses (commercial, industrial, community facility) in industrially-zoned areas and on commercial corridors, where appropriate
  • Encourage a mix of uses on underutilized industrially-zoned sites to best respond to need for jobs, new housing/affordable housing, and open space

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.

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:

  • Land Use & Zoning;
  • Housing;
  • Economic Development;
  • Community Health & Resources;
  • Open Space; and
  • Transportation & Infrastructure.

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.

Open House - Kids Table
Open House - Land Use Station
Open House - Steering Committee

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