A new report by NYU's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy examines the rezonings that took place between 2003 and 2007, and finds that of the 188,000 lots that were included in a City-initiated rezoning action, 23 percent were downzoned, 14 percent were upzoned, and almost 63 percent were subject to a contextual-only rezoning (a term for a rezoning that does not significantly change the buildable capacity but otherwise limits the kind of building allowed). Despite the small share of upzonings, on net, these actions increased the City's capacity for new residential building by 1.7 percent, or roughly 100 million square feet of residential capacity.
''Given the scale of rezoning activity during this time, it is critical to take a step back and ask: 'what is the net impact on the City’s capacity to accommodate new growth?''' said Vicki Been, faculty director of the Furman Center. ''While we find that on paper, the upzonings have added more capacity than the downzonings have taken away, we also find reason to doubt that all of this new capacity will be built out for residential use, and it remains unclear whether we are on track for creating enough new residential capacity to accommodate the one million new New Yorkers that are expected to live in the City by 2030.''
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Smart Growth Resource Library: How Have Recent Rezonings Affected the City's Ability to Grow?