Dans le cadre des MiniMétropolitaines
Veronique Bédague-Hamilius, secretaire générale de la Villle de Paris
& Pierre Mansat , adjoint au maire
New York: comment faire la ville au XXIe siècle
le mardi 21 septembre à 18h15
auditorium de l'Hôtel de ville
5 rue de Lobau
avec Amanda Burden, directrice de l'urbanisme de New York
et Bernard Tschumi enseignant a la Graduate School of architecture
université de Columbia
un artcle du New York daily news
If you thought city planning has no impact on your life other than sanitation, you probably don't care if they build a 40-story hotel where your corner deli used to be or an office building on a handball court.
It's the job of New York City planning director Amanda Burden to ensure that real-estate developers can't just build anything they want where they want and as high as they want.
It's not her job to listen to community boards and citizens about what to do in their neighborhood, but she does. Burden is in charge of the city agency that oversees zoning.
Let's start at the beginning. What's zoning and how does it affect you?
Zoning determines what building can go where and is a tool that Burden's department uses to allow skyscrapers to be built near subway stops or work/live lofts near the waterfront, or single- family homes on a park-front street.
It's also the tool that regulates where you can park, what kind of sign can be put up and, sometimes, where you find a seat in a public space.
"It's the job of the city planner to shape the blueprint of the city carefully and intelligently, neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block," says Burden. "I want the city to be affordable, sustainable, safe, diverse and fun."
She also wants more sidewalk cafes and public seating. She wants park benches to be 18 inches deep rather than 16. She wants your neighborhood to grow but not change. She wants people to get out of their cars and walk more. And she wants people to stay in New York.
"If people don't like it here they may go to Nassau County or New Jersey," says Burden, a socialite turned hardworking civil servant who admits this is her dream job. "If we keep the essence of the neighborhood character that drew them here in the first place, people will stay."
Burden's mother was Babe Paley, a former Vogue editor who married an heir to Standard Oil first and then media mogul William Paley second. Twice divorced herself, Burden was married to a Vanderbilt before she was 20 and then-Time Warner chief Steve Ross in her 30s. Until recently, she dated TV journalist Charlie Rose.
Don't let her moneyed past fool you. Burden works as hard as any other municipal employee. She gets giddy when talking about exploring New York. "You know what I get to do," she says, clasping her hands like an excited schoolgirl. "I get to take a canoe down the Bronx River in June. It's the only way I can see what's there."
Burden likes to see what's there. The former Battery Park City planner talks as knowledgably about Tottenville on Staten Island as she does Greenpoint, Flushing, Throgs Neck, Hunts Point or Melrose Ave. She has ideas on how to preserve these neighborhoods.
In Greenpoint, Burden plans on adding big buildings of varying height along the waterfront but keeping the low-level (meaning not too high) apartment buildings and homes inland. In Jamaica, Queens, she's planning the largest rezoning in the city's history - 368 blocks - for hotels and high-rises near the busy transportation hub surrounding the Air Train to JFK Airport. Under Burden's supervision, the Department of City Planning has already pushed 70 rezonings of 4,500 blocks through the City Council.
"No other city planner comes close to accomplishing as many rezonings as Amanda," says Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban planning at NYU's prestigious Wagner School of Public Service, who has gauged New York City planners since the 1970s. "Amanda is the gem of the Bloomberg administration. She will go down as a historic figure. She actually listens to what people want for their neighborhood.