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Center for Rethinking Development.

Ideas that shape the city’s planning, housing, and development

Julia Vitullo-Martin
Julia Vitullo-Martin is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and Director of the Center for Rethinking Development. Her work focuses on development issues such as planning and zoning, housing, rent regulation, environmental reviews, building and fire codes, and landmark preservation.

Hope Cohen
Deputy Director
Hope Cohen is Deputy Director of the Center for Rethinking Development. With over a decade of experience in New York City government at the Department of Parks and Recreation and MTA New York City Transit, she brings invaluable experience navigating the complex city bureaucracy and an acute ability to solve complex problems by building consensus among multiple stake-holders.


Debating Development in New York: Selected Articles and Comments
Dear Riders: This is Going to Hurt, Politicker, 03-31-09
State to Developers: Mind Climate Change!, The New York Observer, 03-03-09
Supportive Housing Faces Down Routine Opposition, City Limits, 02-02-09
City Limits Investigates: Public Housing's Struggle, City Limits, 01-26-09
Cut through red tape to create jobs, Crain's, 01-17-09
'Historic' building versus religious rights, The Christian Science Monitor, 01-12-09
To Avert Blight, City Will Repair and Resell Vacant Homes, New York Times, 01-14-09
Columbia University, Slumlord, The Weekly Standard, 12-08-08
Landmark Problems, Gotham Gazette, 12-01-08
Can This Market Be Saved?, New York Magazine, 11-23-08
Is Overdevelopment Still a Threat?, New York Times, 10-22-08
Vanishing Projects, Gotham Gazette, 10-15-08
Maybe Beloved Shops Don't Have to Disappear, City Limits, 07-21-08
Hold 'em Accountable: Developer Filing Proposed, City Limits, 07-14-08
Thompson says other developers might join AY; "I'm not sure what that project is any longer", Atlantic Yards Report, 05-02-08
125th Street Rezoning Raises Concerns About Preserving Harlem's Affordability, Columbia Spectator, 04-24-08
Harlem reborn, The Economist, 03-13-08
Battle for soul of Harlem's famed 125th Street, Guardian, 03-11-08
World Service, BBC Radio, 01-30-08
Once Synagogues, Now Churches, and Ailing Quietly New York Times, 01-28-08
Columbia's $6 Billion Expansion Likely to Win Approval From NYC, 11-26-07
When the Gown Devours the Town New York Times, 11-16-07
Forest City Enterprises: Deals and Ideals Governing Magazine, November 2007
Time for Some Jane Jacobs Revisionism? New York Times, 11-06-07
Not so Superblock Built Environment Blog, 10-19-07
Atlantic Yards Report: Vitullo-Martin Takes a Second Look at Jane Jacobs New York Times, 10-15-07
Study Finds Disparities in Mortgages by Race New York Times, 10-15-07
Razing West Harlem, Daily Standard, 08-09-07
The Politics of Public Housing The Brian Lehrer Show, 08-09-07
Hard Times in the Projects Gotham Gazette, 08-20-07
Environmental Reviews for Small Developments The New york Times, 08-19-07
The Future of New York's Past New York Times, 05-15-07
Brooklyn gets affordable housing boost AM New York, 04-25-07
The First Reductions of Street Homelessness in 20 Years Wall Street Journal, 02-15-07
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Blight off the Block? New York Post, 12-04-06
Up in arms about the Yards Economist, 09-21-06
New York's Post-9/11 Liberty Bond Program Gets Mixed Grades Bloomberg News, 09-11-06

More articles >>


Assessing New York City's Property Tax—Yet Again

Rosemary Scanlon and Hope Cohen, March/April 2009
Property Taxes: Business Killer, By Hope Cohen, New York Post, 06-06-09
What's Wrong with New York City's Property Tax? And How We Can Fix It
Audio | Slide Presentation | Transcript
Are Landlords Enlisting Tenants in Property-Tax Fight?, The New York Observer, 04-22-09

Assessing New York City's Property Tax—Yet Again March/April 2009
The Bronx is Up February 2009
Power to the People! January 2009
Blight by Government December 2008
A Step Toward Market-Rate Housing for NYCHA November 2008
Rezoning the Lower East Side October 2008
Yes! Redevelop Willets Point September 2008
Rezone the Rockaways—They've Waited Long Enough June 2008
Expanding a Hospital in Historic Territory May 2008
Redeveloping Public Housing March 2008


Masterpiece: Chicago, City Without Limits, Wall Street Journal, 06-20-09
Sidewalk, New York Post, 05-24-09
Public-Housing Hope, New York Post, 05-18-09
Lessons In Public Housing,, 05-06-09
Bronx Cheer, New York Post, 02-22-09
Gimme Shelter, New York Post, 02-22-09 (Review of Gimme Shelter by Mary Elizabeth Williams)
How a City Lost Its Soul, The Wall Street Journal, 02-01-09 (Review of Getting Ghost by Luke Bergmann)
Spray It Loud!, New York Post, 12-28-08 (Review of Graffiti Lives by Gregory J. Snyder)
Looking Ahead to the New Year, Gotham Gazette Symposium, 12-22-08


Raise the Roof, Lower the Costs: Construction Costs and Housing Affordability in New York City
by Rosemary Scanlon
June 2008

Battling Traffic:
What New Yorkers Think About Road Pricing

by Bruce Schaller
December 2006

Up From the Ruins: Why Rezoning New York City's Manufacturing Areas for Housing Makes Sense
by Regina Armstrong with Tina Lund
June 2005

New York City’s Housing Gap: The Road to Recovery
by Peter D. Salins
June 2004

The Neighborly Substation: Electricity, Zoning, and Urban Design

By Hope Cohen, with a foreword by Peter W. Huber

Rethinking Environmental Review: A Handbook on What Can Be DoneNew York City needs power and it needs land. Electrical substations have to be near the businesses and homes they power, but neighbors don’t want ugly, scary substations near them. New York's competitor cities London and Tokyo demonstrate that substations don't have to be ugly and scary. Instead of covering acres with electrical equipment, utilities there build substations into or under office buildings and public spaces. The Neighborly Substation explains how to update New York's antiquated zoning code to unlock valuable land and build substations where they need to be, in a manner neighbors will accept.

Hope Cohen takes the viewer through a tour of substations across the United States and around the world.
Power to the People! by Hope Cohen, January 2009
Putting The Sub Back In Substations, Hope Cohen, Architect's Newspaper, 02-18-09
Growing NYC's Grid by Hope Cohen, New York Post, 01-24-09
Changes we can all believe in, Grist Magazine, 01-28-09
Why Not Bury Ugly Power Substations?, The New York Times' City Room Blog, 01-16-09
Infrastructure We Can Live With: The Neighborly Substation Conference

Fix the Drains (and Trains and Bridges)—and Train the Fixers Hope Cohen, Center for Rethinking Development newsletter, August 2007
Podcast: Hope Cohen elaborates on the themes of the August 2007 newsletter
Ensuring It Doesn't Happen Here by Hope Cohen, New York Post, 08-03-07
Was AKRF's Work for Ratner a Hindrance to Hiring by ESDC? No, It Was a Justification Atlantic Yards Report, 08-15-08
"Time to Return Tolls to East River Bridges," to New York City Council
Testimony of Hope Cohen, December 16, 2008
On Safety of New York City's Bridges, to New York City Council Transportation Committee
Testimony of Hope Cohen, September 17, 2007

Rethinking Environmental Review: A Handbook on What Can Be Done
By Hope Cohen, with a foreword by Richard Ravitch

New York City's environmental review process was instituted so that public officials would understand the full environmental implications of a development project and could plan for any necessary changes to municipal infrastructure and services. Over time, the process has evolved to become a hindrance to all developers, especially small-scale ones. The Center for Rethinking Development offers simple and effective suggestions for reform in a new report, "Rethinking Environmental Review."

One to One, CUNY TV, 01-21-08
Yes, Mayor Bloomberg, streamline environmental review, by Hope Cohen, New York Daily News Online, 02-13-09
Building Blocks by Richard Ravitch and Hope Cohen, The New York Times, 08-05-07
A Start on Trading Cumbersome (City) Environmental Review for the Civic Work of Planning Atlantic Yards Report, 05-18-07


The Center for Rethinking Development (CRD) fosters a new understanding of the importance of development to New York City's well-being. Focusing on such areas as zoning and planning, environmental review, building codes, historic preservation, and public housing, CRD conducts research, hosts forums, and offers concrete, feasible proposals for reform.

The city has adopted many of CRD's specific recommendations for zoning changes. CRD's work on bottlenecks to building continues to frame policy discussions in the development world—public, private, and not-for-profit.

New Yorkers have become far more development-friendly in the past few years, but are rightly troubled about New York's decaying infrastructure—roads, subways, bridges, tunnels—so necessary to support an expanding city. The costs of housing—rehabilitation as well as new construction—worry everyone concerned about keeping and attracting jobs and business. CRD explains and makes a case for the importance of reconnecting environmental reviews to infrastructural planning and implementation, targeting incentives to neighborhoods that are still weak rather than those that are strong, and tempering historic preservation with economic reason. Addressing these common-sense concerns is key to the city's future.

For more information please contact Hope Cohen (, (212) 599-7000, fax (212) 599-3494.





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