New NYC Planning Proposal Would Make 1,200 Acres Available For Rooftop Farming

01/27/2012 4:19 PM |


Time to reassert Brooklyn bragging rights! And some potentially amazing news: Rooftop gardens like Eagle Street Farm, the Brooklyn Grange and even Roberta’s homegrown carrot supply have been making headlines as the next “big” small-scale thing for quite a while, but a new proposal from the Department of City Planning could expand this kind of food production in an unprecedented way.

The proposal, a zoning amendment, provides an exemption for rooftop greenhouses on top of commercial buildings from the lot’s floor area ratio and height restrictions. According to New School environmental studies professor Nevin Cohen and a recent study by the Urban Design lab, this amendment could open up 1,200 acres of previously unavailable commercial and industrial rooftops for farming.

For anyone out there who hasn’t peed his or her sustainable pants yet, there’s even more stuff to get excited about in this amendment. The DCP’s zoning proposal also would allow installing more energy efficient walls, solar panels, stormwater detention systems and wind turbines. That’s right: freaking wind power. You can read more about the proposal in full on the DCP’s website.

This is one of the latest developments in keeping with Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC, a series of ambitious city planning goals first established in 2007 to retrofit the city for a better, faster, greener future. If you’ve got lots of time and a head for deciphering environmental policy-speak, I highly recommend reading through the latest report, or you could just take the easy way out and watch this oversimplified, three-minute propaganda video update.

The zoning amendment was submitted December 12, but will undergo a 60 day public review process, starting with the community boards and eventually working its way up to the City Planning Commission and City Council.

You can follow Sydney Brownstone for more talk of pants-wetting on Twitter @sydbrownstone

[via Grist]

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