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Rebuilding New York


A "Map" of the Civic Planning Initiatives

To Rebuild New York , Reconstruct Lower Manhattan

and the World Trade Center Site


Based on a document originally prepared by Robert Yaro , RPA and modified,

edited and updated by Ron Shiffman , Pratt Center on January 23, 2002




Since September 11, dozens of organizations, representing a cross section of New York City and regional civic leadership, have initiated efforts to advance plans for rebuilding the World Trade Center site and Lower Manhattan. Among these are:


        NYC Rebuild, a joint venture of the New York City Partnership and the Real Estate Board of New York, representing major businesses and property owners, has completed an economic impact analysis of lower Manhattan and is advancing infrastructure proposals for the area served by the World Trade Center .

        New York New Visions, a coalition of 20 architecture, planning, and design organizations that came together immediately following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center . This group has pooled the collective resources and technical expertise of over 350 professionals and civic group leaders in a pro-bono effort to address the issues surrounding the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan . More information is available at http://newyorknewvisions.org.

        Rebuild Downtown, Our Town (RDOT), an active and engaged alliance of downtown residents, small businesses and designers. Meets every two weeks and includes representatives from the diverse communities that make up lower Manhattan such as youth groups, various universities, and Community Board One. More information is available at http://www.architect.org/lower_manhattan/press.html.

        The Empire State Transportation Alliance (ESTA), a coalition of more than 30 transportation, environmental and business groups, that is preparing interim and long-range transportation strategies for Downtown and works closely with the Civic Alliance.

        Imagine New York, sponsored by the Municipal Art Society and assisted by ACP Visioning and Planning and the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development. Imagine New York , co-sponsored by community planning, arts and cultural organizations, families impacted by the tragedy, advocacy groups and others throughout the metropolitan region, is convening public forums across the city and region to discuss people's visions for rebuilding New York and the memorialization process. You will find more information at http://www.imaginenewyork.org/.

        Labor Community Advocacy Network, a group coordinated and convened by the Fiscal Policy Institute and the Central Labor Council and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.1 The group is comprised of representatives from community based organizations, environmental justice advocates, welfare to work groups, workforce development organizations, livable wage advocates, Alter Budget, immigrant advocacy organizations, foundations, the Community Service Society and other progressive organizations concerned with low- and moderate-income populations, workers, and new immigrants that have been directly or indirectly impacted by the events of September 11th. [2]

        Rebuild for Whom? Spotlight on the Poor, a network initiated following a conference hosted by MFY Legal Services, Inc., that brings together grassroots organizers, advocacy groups, community-based organizations, and service providers, especially from the Lower East Side and Chinatown , as well as urban planners, academics, and policy makers to forge a plan that centralizes the needs of poor communities in the rebuilding process.

     Office of Regional and Community Affairs (ORCA) of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, is co-sponsoring a series of meetings focused on Keeping our Neighborhoods
Strong that PICCED and members of ORCA's advisory board are helping to
organize over the next few months. The meetings will culminate in a citywide
meeting to be convened by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York,
tentatively scheduled for April 18, 2002


All of these groups are different key stakeholders that all have a role in developing the principles and in shaping plans for rebuilding Downtown and for dealing with the economic aftermath of the tragic events of September 11, 2001 . They are all beginning their work by identifying principles that will shape the debate and produce a plan for the area, which will be prepared by the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corporation (LMRC), a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC). The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), which owns the WTC site and PATH transit system, is also expected to play an active role in rebuilding plans as will the holder of the WTC lease, Larry Silverstein. The state of New Jersey will be represented in the process through its leadership on the PANYNJ board on which both the Governor of New York and Governor of New Jersey can exercise a veto.


Providing an "Umbrella" for Planning Efforts: The Civic Alliance


To promote communication and collaboration among these diverse efforts, and to create a common forum for reaching consensus on rebuilding plans, the Regional Plan Association (RPA) has convened the Civic Alliance to Rebuild Downtown New York. The Civic Alliance is a coalition of more than 120 business, community, environmental and transportation groups that has come together to create a common vision for rebuilding the World Trade Center site and Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of September 11.


Virtually all of the civic-led planning efforts referred to above are active participants in the Civic Alliance, and are represented on the Alliance 's steering committee. Working groups are shaping the Alliance 's policy and investment recommendations on a full range of technical issues. In addition, ESDC, the Port Authority and the New York City Planning Commission are participating in all of the Alliance 's deliberations.


RPA and a group of academic partners, including New York University , the New School University and the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development are staffing the Alliance . RPA has gained the support of ESDC for this effort, and is working to establish a close working relationship with the new Bloomberg



Administration and LMRC. For dates of meetings and other information go to the web site for the Civic Alliance at http://www.civic-alliance.org.


Overall Goals


The Civic Alliance has outlined five principal goals for its activities:

        Creating an open process To create a democratic planning process open to all of the region's civic leaders.

        Providing a forum for ideas and consensus building To provide an "umbrella" for all of these civic planning initiatives, and to create a common voice for New York 's civic community in rebuilding plans.

        "Raising sights" To ensure that rebuilding plans represent the very best practices in urban design, sustainable economic development, transportation, energy and telecommunications technology to transform Lower Manhattan into the world's first 21st century urban center and to make the area and its commemorative spaces a true monument to those who died on September 11.

        Providing a vehicle for on-going advocacy  To shape public opinions and public policies, investments, and short- and long-term actions needed to rebuild downtown over the months and years ahead.

        Ensuring adherence to principles of Social, Economic and Environmental Justice To ensure that issues of equity and social, economic and environmental justice guide all of the direct and indirect efforts to develop lower Manhattan and that communities of color, new immigrant communities and low- and moderate-income communities are all part of the rebuilding efforts and beneficiaries of these efforts.



Redevelopment of the World Trade Center site should be planned in the context of a broader economic and community development and transportation strategy for all of Lower Manhattan , the City - including its neighborhoods and the Region. Fully implementing such a strategy will require years, or even decades. To sustain confidence in the area in the short-term, it will be necessary to rapidly plan and implement a set of highly visible and effective transportation and urban design improvements that can be completed within a 12-18 month period.


1 This group is an outgrowth of earlier meetings convened by the Brennan Center for Justice and representatives of the office of State Senator Eric Schneiderman, the New York Industrial Retention Network (NYIRN), and the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development (PICCED).


[2] They are a member of the Civic Alliance and are the cornerstone of the Civic Alliance's Social, Economic and Environmental Justice Committee (EEJC) Co-chaired by Peggy Shepherd (WEACT) and Ron Shiffman (PICCED). EEJC also has representatives from MFY, the Planning Center at MAS, the Century Foundation, Columbia University 's Planning School , the Milano School at the New School University . EEJC was responsible for the Civic Alliance's progressive plank and has developed a set of questions and principles that it is sending to each of the Civic Alliance working committees concerning issues of social, economic and environmental justice. Representatives of EEJC are also members of each of the other working committees of the Civic Alliance. (See attached for a list of other Civic Alliance Task Forces).


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Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development (PICCED)

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