Last week, the Pratt Center for Community Development, a university-based community planning organization which works for a more sustainable and equitable New York City, released “Preserving Affordability & Authenticity: The Plan for Chinatown and Surrounding Areas.” After receiving a $150,000 grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation in spring 2010, the Chinatown Working Group, of which Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) is a voting member, released a Request for Proposals for a consultant to recommend plans for the development, growth, and improvement of Chinatown. To assist the Pratt Center in creating the report, AAFE conducted resident surveys which asked questions such as “What do value most about living in Chinatown?” and “How do you feel about the development of your neighborhood?”
Some of the key recommendations and findings from the report include:
- Affordability: Apply anti-harassment and anti-demolition provisions throughout Chinatown and its surrounding areas.
- Economic Development: Maintain affordable commercial space for local businesses to survive and thrive.
- Culture and Historic Preservation: Incentivize affordable arts and cultural uses in new construction.
- Zoning and Land Use Analysis: Between 2002 and 2008, Chinatown and the Lower East Side lost 9,000 rent regulated units, largely through high rent/vacancy deregulation.
- Special Chinatown and Lower East River District: Institute a special district that integrates affordability, economic development, cultural and historic preservation strategies to protect against losses caused by market-rate development.