Since early 2003, the Pratt Center has been working closely with Manhattan Community Board 9’s 197-A planning committee and with the Harlem Community Development Corporation to craft a comprehensive set of recommendations to guide the future development of three neighborhoods in northern Manhattan: Morningside Heights, Manhattanville, and Hamilton Heights. The “197-A Plan” (authorized by the NYC Charter) covers issues around affordable housing, economic development, transportation, environment, community facilities, urban design, and land use and zoning.

The 197-A Plan was developed through public forums in each of the neighborhoods, analysis by Pratt Center planners, and the leadership of the Community Board.

Recommendations include preservation of the historic neighborhoods of Morningside and Hamilton Heights and a special mixed-use district for Manhattanville. Other priorities are affordable housing, preservation of industrial jobs, and improved environmental quality.

After revising the recommendations based on feedback from the community at large, the Pratt Center submitted the plan to the Community Board, and it was unanimously approved. It was submitted to the Department of City Planning in August 2005 and passed threshold review in November 2005. The document has recently been updated to reflect changes submitted by the Board as of November 26, 2007. These changes include substantial revisions, among others, for facilitating greater amounts of community facility use to accommodate Columbia University’s needs.

As one key element, the plan provides a framework for the community to respond to Columbia University’s proposal to expand in Manhattanville. The plan also reflects the fact that MCB9 called for an integrated approach that rejects the use of eminent domain, preserves existing businesses and buildings, and features a community-benefits agreement to ensure community-accessible parks, access to jobs, affordable housing, and neighborhood services. In these efforts, the Pratt Center assembled a team of technical assistance providers to assist Community Board 9 in evaluating Columbia’s proposal – including a review and analysis of the scope and draft of an environmental impact statement (EIS). For more information on the Pratt Center’s work in this and other areas, please visit their website.

For further information or a review of the entire scope of the 197-A Plan, direct any questions you may have to the Board via this website.