Zoning rules have a much larger impact than most people realize. Much of this is driven at the local level, meaning that your local elections and community meetings are incredibly important, directly shaping the world you live in. nytimes.com/2021/08/27/opi…
Furthermore, as this article points out, those local decisions directly impact whether you can even afford to live in that world. #NIMBYism is an incredibly expensive luxury we as a society cannot afford.
But to those #NIMBY people I say this: what happens when the people you depend upon for basic services can no longer afford to live anywhere near where you expect to receive those same services? Do you expect them to drive an hour each way? Two? Where does it stop?
That is not to say that everywhere in the US has to look like Brooklyn, but neither should they look like dystopian sprawling lily-white suburbia. The environmental impact of that alone is unsustainable, but, it turns out, so are the economic costs.
We can certainly oppose projects that are actually harmful on an individual basis, but we should not be scared of density in and of itself. In fact, dense, diverse, walkable neighborhoods are a joy to live in. I for one love living in the second-densest county in the US.
What we really need, even here in Brooklyn, is more diverse representation at community planning meetings. Or tools that enable representation outside of time-boxed meetings. Think about who can show up at a typical planning meeting?
These are certainly not the people most likely to be adversely affected by the decisions made at those meetings. Rather, they are the people with the means and spare time to devote to advocating harmfully restrictive policies without feeling the pain caused by them.
So, as I alluded to above, it behoves all of us to make the planning process as inclusive as possible. We depend on the very people our planning forces out and even consider them friends, but we don't include them in that process. I say, "How dare we?"
At what point will those people decide their quality of life is more valuable than the service you demand of them and leave or even just be forced out? That's what we're seeing in California and even in #NYC and #DC (which while much denser still have a housing equity problem).
What we need is an inclusionary zoning process, perhaps inspired by #NYC's #ParticipatoryBudgeting process. We need to include the voices of all affected in our processes and elevate the voices facing the most potential harm. This is our basic obligation to one another.
So here's what I advocate:
1: elected representation of planning committees. No person deciding zoning/planning/permitting should be appointed, they must represent all of us and be answerable to us, thinking specifically of #CommunityBoards in #NYC.
#NYC's #CBs should look more like #DC's Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, directly elected by the people they serve and impact.
2: Meetings should be more representative fo community members. And in order to do that, meetings should not be time-boxed in person or virtual but should have a process to submit feedback over a stretch of time.
Not everyone can get to a meeting at a specific time but is their voice any less valuable? We need to respect those kinds of inequities. They shouldn't lose their voice in our community because their boss sucks.

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More from @seanr1978

30 Mar 20
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