The Brooklyn Anti-gentrification Network (BAN) protest at the New York City Department of City Planning Urban Design Division
Brooklyn Anti-gentrification Network (BAN) statement:
The Department of City Planning plays a central but often hidden role in the gentrification of our communities. Their job is to subdue community resistance by engaging us in a drawn out, complex and ultimately pointless community planning process that distracts and consumes community organizations and individuals with busy-work.
In order to move forward with a rezoning, the Department of City Planning must meet with the community to get their input, but they are not required to incorporate any of that input into the final plan. When they do take community input, it’s often window-dressing: a narrow range of details that don’t affect their bottom line. The decision to upzone in the first place is never put to the community, and the real needs and demands of the community are never met. We are told they are ‘not feasible’ or are ‘beyond the scope’ of their department’s work.
They play a game of divide and conquer: tokenizing community groups by picking one or two that are willing to work with them and holding them up as proof that their process to gentrify the neighbohood is legitimate and desired by the community. Any groups that refuse to engage in this ‘planning process’ are then dismissed as unreasonable and unnecessary.
They are sent into communities to give the illusion of community participation. This fake engagement is patronizing and insulting and is part of a long legacy of racist, sexist and classist government strategies to ‘deal’ with poor communities and communities of color. They attempt to demobilize our communities by pulling us into ‘community processes’ where we don’t have real power and which we never asked for in the first place. Ultimately they ignore the community concerns they spent months ‘listening’ to, and couch their predetermined plans within lengthy, inaccessible reports.
DCP is the ambassador of gentrification, brought in to disarm us and clear a path for the developers. Our most recent protest on Dec 18th against Alicia Glen sought to make visible her power as the deputy mayor for housing and economic development. Both she and staff of the DCP work together in an interconnected web to support real estate interests and halt conversations about solving the city’s housing market through non-market based solutions.
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