NEW YORK, Oct. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Concerned NYC residents and civic organizations will #Stand Against the Shadows on November 8 at 10:30 a.m. in a march across 57th Street calling for a halt to the uncontrolled development of mega towers until city and community leaders can work with developers to enact reasonable changes to zoning laws and give the community a voice in the planning process.
"This is a problem that can't be ignored any longer," said Stand Against the Shadows spokesperson Valerie Brown. "Developers are under no obligation to seek city or community approval or input, nor carry out any environmental studies, to build to these unprecedented heights. They only had to buy up the air rights, or in some cases, add empty floors to work around height limits."
The march is a reboot of the original 1987 Stand Against the Shadow demonstration, led by the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS), which resulted in dramatic reductions in square footage and height of the Columbus Circle towers. As MAS lead partner Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis said at the time of the city's responsibility to include environmental concerns in its planning, "One would hope that the city would act as protector of sun and light and clean air and space and parkland."
"As in 1987, today's demonstrators aren't against new development or skyscrapers themselves," said Mary Rowe, executive vice president of the Municipal Art Society of New York. "We are simply calling for the City to plan intentionally for the future of our skyline, which means taking into account the impacts these towers have on traffic, air flow, open space, and sunlight, especially near treasured public spaces like Central Park. New York doesn't have to settle for an 'Accidental Skyline.'"
Across just three blocks of 58th street, six super-tall towers are already built or underway, casting shadows as large as a mile long across emblematic sections of Central Park, including the Great Lawn, Sheep Meadow, the zoo and Carousel, the Pond, Artist's and Merchant's gates and Heckscher ball fields and playground.
Another point of concern is that these luxury towers are often purchased as investment properties with no intention of ever being inhabited.
"This unregulated development is a very real and serious threat to the quality of life of all New Yorkers, and to the future of the city we call home," said Layla Law-Gisiko, chair of the Central Park Sunshine Task Force of CB5. "The public infrastructure – the public transportation system -- upon which these towers will depend is already overburdened. Further, the city has done nothing to assess the impact of these developments onto their surroundings."
The group echoes the recommendations of the Municipal Art Society's 2013 report, The Accidental Skyline, and MAS's resulting advocacy to demystify the city planning process and bring the public into the conversation about intentional planning in the city.
The coalition is calling for:
- Collaboration between authorities, developers, urban planners and communities affected by new development
- Temporary moratorium on future development of super-tall towers higher than 600 feet until thorough environmental and city infrastructure studies can be conducted and public input considered
- Improved zoning regulations concerning heights and setbacks of new construction, with consideration given to protecting public spaces
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SOURCE Stand Against the Shadows