Tuesday, August 7, 2007

For the Record

The blog, No Land Grab has quoted my post yesterday about the Atlantic Yards Project. In their editorial note, lumi writes, "Ratner has been very successful in getting relatively intelligent people to think that Atlantic Yards is in Downtown Brooklyn, rather than Prospect Heights." Since No Land Grab does not have a comments section in which to reply, I feel that I should respond here.

I am a new resident of Brooklyn and it is, in fact, depressing that I might have been duped by Bruce Ratner, et al. I must say, however, that I am not alone looking at this development plan summary [pdf] put together by the NYC Planning Dept. In fact, it appears that the planning department was not so much duped as complicit with the development interests are seeking to expand the definition of "downtown" Brooklyn. As No Land Grab points out, the Atlantic Yards Project sits in Prospect Heights but it seems like a project of the planning department to expand the definition of "downtown Brooklyn" to this area. Especially galling is how the planning department declares that one of the goals of the redevelopment project is to "[s]trengthen connections with surrounding neighborhoods" [1]. I am not sure what building a whole series of high-rises in a community that is composed primarily of brownstones.

Yet, it is not surprising that this happening. It appears that Brooklyn (and by "Brooklyn", I mean the Brooklyn politicians and planning department officials) now has an inferiority complex that they are losing office space to gasp!!! NEW JERSEY!!! Therefore, to show how Brooklyn is a real city, we are going to move the New Jersey Brooklyn Nets to Brooklyn so that it has a real sports team. Following the same "growth machine" politics evident in so many other cities across the country, the Brooklyn elite seem to believe that Brooklyn must grow, grow, grow in order to compete with that suburban wasteland of New Jersey[2]. Even if one buys the interpretation that a place must continually grow to become intrinsically "better" (i.e. so that land developers can earn more money), it seems useless to point out the fact that Manhattan may actually be competing more directly with Brooklyn than New Jersey.

[1]Page 9 of the plan summary. [return]
[2]"Growth machine" politics is described here. [return]


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