In the fall of 2017, the citywide independent open space advocacy organization New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P) engaged WXY to conduct original research and organize public discussions focused on how to ensure new zoning initiatives make room for adequate parks and open space. WXY helped NY4P publish the findings from the panels and research in a brief brochure titled “Open Space Dialogues: A New Perspective.”
NY4P noticed that recent neighborhood-scale rezonings have brought to light some unintended impacts on open space. With more rezonings expected, the they sought to identify how to accommodate robust growth while also providing parks and open spaces that make our cities livable.
With the goal of encouraging support for parks, including improvements to existing public open spaces, NY4P and WXY created the Open Space Dialogues—a four-part panel series convening leading parks researchers, decisionmakers, and practitioners from the public and private sector from New York City and beyond.
The panels, coupled with WXY’s research, aimed to reveal cutting-edge practice and foster a dialogue about current thinking on how to elevate open space as a cornerstone of the rezoning process.
Together, we publicly raised the collective voice on the importance of open space, questioned and challenged the way our city approaches development, and sought new and innovative ways of planning for open space. Most importantly, we uncovered ways in which NY4P can be a better technical assistance provider to communities undergoing a rezoning, so they can make stronger, more effective cases for their local parks and open spaces.
In ‘Open Space Dialogues,’ we provide excerpts of our research interviews and present the most essential takeaways from the Open Space Dialogues. We consider the status of neighborhood scale rezonings and NY4P’s role in them, focusing on NY4P’s work in Southern Boulevard, an area in the Bronx that the City is considering rezoning, and where the City has already made significant investments. Lastly, we identify new lenses and metrics for analyzing open space and measuring its importance to New York City neighborhoods.