The Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn Addresses Dual Crises of Housing and Public Health Through Data-Driven Land Use, Policy, and Budgetary Recommendations
Almost Every Major City in the World Has a Plan to Guide Growth and Development – Except New York City
BROOKLYN, NY – Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso today released “The Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn,” a vision to address the borough’s dual crises of housing and public health through land use, policy, and budgetary recommendations. The Plan for equitable growth is based on a comprehensive analysis of boroughwide data and information and contains over 100 maps visualizing inequities in everything from housing production to life expectancy. The Plan is not a rezoning proposal but will be used by the Borough President effective immediately to guide land use recommendations and decision-making. The Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn is the first borough-specific large-scale planning effort ever in NYC and a model for planning citywide. Read the full Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn HERE.
“Levels of homelessness not seen since the Great Depression, stormwaters flooding our streets and buildings, poor health outcomes in low-income communities – that is what a city that fails to plan looks like,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “In cities around the world, comprehensive planning is the norm, and for good reason – comprehensive planning balances local and citywide needs so that all residents have equitable access to the resources that lead to healthy communities. But for too long, New York City has relied on piecemeal, ad hoc rezonings that fail to meet the needs of residents, lack vision and principles, and lead to an inequitable distribution of resources. My Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn maps disparities across Brooklyn and puts forward a roadmap to solve these inequities. It’s time to finally start planning in New York City – and Brooklyn is leading the way.”
The Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn focuses on two deeply intertwined issues: housing and health. Ultimately, public health is about access – to healthy and affordable housing, accessible and affordable health care, a range of transportation options, quality education and employment opportunities, and safe and resilient communities. Conversely, lack of access to these necessities can lead to poor health outcomes. All of this is linked to budgetary, policy, and land use choices.
The over-200-page Plan begins with a thorough analysis of existing conditions in the borough, revealing intense inequities. For example, life expectancy in Community District (CD) 16 (Brownsville), a predominantly Black neighborhood, is 76 years, while CD 6 (Park Slope, Carroll Gardens), a predominantly white neighborhood, has a life expectancy of 82.9 years. Based on the data and information analyzed, as well as input from residents across the borough, Borough President Reynoso’s Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn presents recommendations to solve for these disparities and encourage healthy and housed neighborhoods. The Plan then outlines four frameworks that apply these land use, policy, and budgetary recommendations spatially across the borough.
This plan is not a substitute for a citywide comprehensive plan or ongoing local planning efforts. It is not a rezoning proposal, and it is not something the Borough President can implement on his own. However, it is intended to inform the Borough President’s land use decisions and recommendations, and to provide shared data and information to all Brooklyn stakeholders. It is a living document, intended to be updated and responsive to new needs in Brooklyn’s many communities.
The Plan’s creation began shortly after Borough President Reynoso took office in January 2022. The Office of the Brooklyn Borough President led the process; the Regional Plan Association (RPA) and New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) provided support with data collection and analysis; and Hester Street provided support with public outreach and engagement. An Advisory Committee of over 25 organizations from throughout the borough provided feedback and guidance along the way. The team engaged the public multiple times, including two in-person public workshops held at Borough Hall, public presentations to Brooklyn’s community boards, and a public online survey covering the draft recommendations.
Read the full Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn HERE.
Moses Gates, Vice President for Housing and Neighborhood Planning, Regional Plan Association (RPA): “The Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn demonstrates how planning can be responsive and proactive in meeting the needs of communities across a wide range of issue areas. Addressing high housing costs, improving health outcomes, adapting to climate change, enhancing transportation networks, and ensuring equitable economic development can only be done through a comprehensive and integrated approach. The Brooklyn plan provides an ambitious vision of achieving this through a framework that aligns citywide, borough, and local needs and we have been proud to partner with Borough President Reynoso for this project.”
Lori Frank, PhD, Senior Vice President for Research, The New York Academy of Medicine: “The Brooklyn Borough President’s Comprehensive Plan represents a groundbreaking commitment to supporting the health and well-being of Brooklyn residents. This forward-looking Plan serves as a powerful testament to the connection between urban planning and health equity. Driven by data, this plan demonstrates the transformative impact of planning and policy when it prioritizes public health and community consensus. The New York Academy of Medicine is pleased to collaborate on this Report and its data, which will promote a healthier and more equitable Brooklyn for future generations.”
Eva Neubauer Alligood, Executive Director of Hester Street: “Hester Street applauds Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso for his commitment to addressing the borough’s dual crises of housing and public health by creating ‘The Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn’ to guide equitable land use, policy, and budgetary recommendations throughout the borough. Hester Street was proud to work with the Borough President’s office, the Regional Planning Association, and New York Academy of Medicine on this first boroughwide plan for Brooklyn, and to support the initiative through public outreach and engagement. The Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn not only calls out the stark neighborhood disparities in health, housing, and the environment across the borough, but serves as an important guide for future land use decisions and a model for citywide planning.”
Dr. Tenyá Blackwell, Director of Community Engagement and Research, Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health: “We are delighted that the Borough President is approaching his strategic plan for local land use policies using a public health lens. He incorporated a community-engagement model to solicit input from the residents of Brooklyn, and at the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, that model is extremely important to us. Housing is indeed a public health crisis here in this City, and the connection between housing and health is not something that can be ignored or handled separately.”
Regina Myer, President of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership: “This Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn will put our borough on track to deliver much-needed housing, drive positive health outcomes, and improve the quality of life for the people that live and work here. By rethinking how Brooklyn works for everyone – starting with our infrastructure – we can create a healthier, more sustainable and equitable city. We applaud Borough President Reynoso for his leadership on these important issues and look forward to working with his to put this plan into action.”
Adam Ganser, Executive Director New Yorkers for Parks: “New Yorkers for Parks applauds Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso for developing the Brooklyn Comprehensive Plan which is critical to ensuring Brooklyn makes the transformative infrastructure development and investments that supports parks and open spaces, nature-based solutions for stormwater capture in public spaces, and a resilient waterfront. This plan is a model for addressing disparities in climate change vulnerability, equitable access to parks and expanded green spaces, and less congested streets – all of which are direct indicators of a healthy community.”
Scott Short, CEO of RiseBoro Community Partnership: “We should not accept outcomes for our city that leave significant portions of our population without access to basic necessities. As an organization that works to address inequities in health and housing access, I believe Borough President Reynoso’s Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn represents a huge step towards reducing those inequities, and I am proud to have served on the steering committee.”
Tara Duvivier, Senior Planner Pratt Center for Community Development: “The Brooklyn Comprehensive Plan is a proactive step to address shortcomings in our current processes and policy by creating a framework to inform land use decisions. Community organizations have advocated for this type of planning on a citywide level for years. We support this plan and look forward to working with the Brooklyn Borough President in ensuring this plan continues to evolve as our borough changes.”
Blondel Pinnock, President and CEO of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation: “The Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn is a historic accomplishment that will guide the future of our great borough for years to come. We applaud Borough President Reynoso for his leadership in unveiling an urgently needed vision for harnessing Brooklyn’s economic growth more equitably to the benefit of all of its residents. The Plan includes measures to address our housing crisis that support Restoration’s mission to reduce the racial wealth gap. We look forward to offering our continued support to inform and advance this critical effort.”
Wayne Ho, President & CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council: “The Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn marks a significant milestone in urban planning, effectively addressing critical issues in housing and public health. These challenges have disproportionately impacted low-income communities of color, especially in the midst of the COVID pandemic. As a Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee member, CPC is honored to stand alongside this transformative initiative. Together, we are establishing a pioneering model for equitable growth, prioritizing health, well-being, and community cohesion to advance equity in Brooklyn.”
Zahirah McNatt, Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Brooklyn Neighborhood Health, Center for Health Equity and Community Wellness, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: “The Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn, led by the Borough President’s office, is an honest look at the current state and a beautiful commitment to equity across the borough. We can do more around health, housing, food, zoning and many other domains. This plan creates a platform for centering justice and achieving a Brooklyn-for-all. Grateful to have been part of the initial process and looking forward to how all parties engage in execution.”
Chris Walters, Senior Land Use Policy Associate, Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development: “ANHD has long advocated for citywide Comprehensive Planning that works proactively and deliberatively to achieve clear equity-oriented goals. Our city’s geography of inequality didn’t happen by chance but was instead the result of decades of decisions that only served to reinforce racial and economic disparities. It will take an equally intentional approach to address these disparities and ensure a more equitable distribution of resources, development, and healthy, thriving neighborhoods citywide. We applaud Borough President Reynoso for taking a crucial step towards that vision by releasing ‘The Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn.’ This plan will help ensure a more transparent, equitable, and accountable planning process for the borough of Brooklyn, across land use, policy, and budgetary decisions. ANHD is excited to build upon this important work and use it as a model for expanding comprehensive planning citywide.”
Danny Harris, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives: “We applaud Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso for launching ‘The Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn’ and laying out a data-driven vision to build a more equitable Brooklyn. We must undo decades of car-first policies that led to highways like the BQE tearing through neighborhoods. Now is the time to invest in infrastructure and innovative transit projects that puts people first. Too many neighborhoods in Brooklyn lack basic safe streets infrastructure – such as protected bike lanes and bus lanes – that is required by the NYC Streets Plan. We look forward to working with the Borough President Reynoso and Council Members on breaking ground on new projects across the borough and giving Brooklynites new, safe, and sustainable ways to get around.”
Jackson Chabot, Director of Advocacy and Organizing at Open Plans: “Brooklyn Borough President Reynoso has proven that he understands that New Yorkers are our city’s best asset. This plan shows real grit and vision. It creates a roadmap to break from a harmful status quo and imagine a brighter, people-centered Brooklyn. Policies like lifting parking mandates, reimagining curb space, and fostering open streets and public spaces prioritize livability and will create a thriving city for the 21st century and beyond. We look forward to working with the Borough President’s office on supporting and advancing these bold solutions.”
Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC): “Housing and land use are deeply intertwined with transit access, which means that planning the future of both should be connected. We thank Borough President Reynoso for embarking on this robust comprehensive planning process for the borough that takes into account extensive public input as well as current and future transit options like the Interborough Express, opportunities to improve the accessibility of transit, and more – and we hope that Brooklyn’s Comprehensive Plan will be a model for the rest of the city.”
Eric McClure, Executive Director of StreetsPAC: “We congratulate Borough President Reynoso and his team on the release of the Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn. Smart planning decisions can make a world of difference in ensuring that all our citizens are properly housed, have good healthcare and wellness outcomes, and can get around the city safely, efficiently, and with as small a carbon footprint as possible, and this document will help guide and support those efforts. We’re proud to have played a very small part in the development of the Comprehensive Plan and look forward to the more equitable future it promises to help shape.”