Knowledge Exchange: Chinese delegation attends NYU-Poly land use roundtable

Joe Chan of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

Joe Chan of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership discusses the nearly $10 billion private and public organizations.have committed to development projects in downtown Brooklyn.

A Chinese delegation to the United States spent the afternoon of February 4 at Polytechnic Institute of NYU learning about public participation in two of downtown Brooklyn’s most significant land use projects in recent years.

The first: the creation of MetroTech, the office and knowledge park where NYU-Poly’s main campus is located. NYU-Poly spearheaded the project, which was completed in the early 1990s. The second: the Department of City Planning and the NYC Economic Development Corporation’s rezoning in 2004 of downtown Brooklyn.  The rezoning aimed — and has been successful at — increasing economic development and urban renewal.

New York City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure rules (usually referred to as “ULURP”) mandate public participation during the planning and approval stages of property development and rezoning. China doesn’t have comparable guidelines. The delegates, many of whom are professors of law and policy, are interested in how NYC’s model for public involvement could be applied to land use decisions in China.

Key players from the MetroTech and downtown Brooklyn rezoning projects presented their perspectives at the roundtable:

The Academic Leader
George Bugliarello (President Emeritus, Polytechnic Institute of NYU) worked with government and industry partners to transform what is now MetroTech from an area of decay into a research and commercial center for information- and telecommunications-dependent organizations.

The City Planners
Hardy Adasko (Senior Vice President, New York City Economic Development Corporation) has worked for 37 years, under 7 mayors, on major land use projects in NYC, including MetroTech and the rezoning of downtown Brooklyn.

Regina Myer (President of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation) has worked for over 20 years as a city planner, including 8 as Director of the Brooklyn Office of the City’s Department of Planning. She currently leads the effort to plan, build, and manage the Brooklyn Bridge Park, a major waterfront renewal for NYC.

The Economic Developer
Joe Chan (President, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership) bridges the public and private sectors to create development projects and improvements that encourage economic growth and opportunity in downtown Brooklyn. Mr. Chan worked in the Office of Deputy Mayor for Economic Development before becoming the president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

The Lawyer
Irving Gotbaum (Partner, Friedman & Gotbaum, LLP) specializes in land use and zoning application. He has represented both sides in major projects: the opposition and the developer.

The Transportation Expert
John Falcocchio (Professor, Polytechnic Institute of NYU) is the Director of the Transportation Research Center at NYU-Poly and a renowned expert in traffic planning and management. He outlined the public participation process in the planning and construction of public infrastructure projects which shares many characteristics with public involvement in property development and rezoning.


NYU-Poly Chancellor David Chang organized the event and led the roundtable discussion at the request of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, an organization whose mission is to “promote understanding and cooperation between the United States and Greater China in the belief that sound and productive Sino-American relations serve vital American and world interests.”