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Happy 100th Birthday, NYC Zoning Resolution!
by Dan Kaplan, FAIA
It’s been a wild ride!

Congratulations on reaching this milestone. Who would have thought that – together with your partner-in-crime, the Grid – you would have been the underpinning of such a diverse, vital and constantly evolving city? You are the underlying rules of the game, the base-notes, the very language of urban form.

It’s been a wild ride! Who can forget the earnest 1961 Amendments?; the time in rehab with Packing the Bulk?; the before-its-time Daylight Evaluation Method and those LUTZ Meters?; the still-crazy-after-all-these-years ZQA and MIH?

Yet, a milestone is a time to reflect. It’s hard not to notice that you’re putting on some girth and getting a tad cranky. Even your good friends are grousing: “Can’t it be just a little simpler?” Yes, you are blessed with an amazing troop of acolytes, constantly untangling your mysteries with fervor. Don’t you think it’s time to have a good serious talk with the folks that administer and interpret you? Your greatest quality is balancing commercial aspirations and collective interests: but as you get older, shouldn’t you be more supportive of promoting creativity and collective aspirations?

But hey, you’re 100-years young! There is so much to look forward to: Big-data is here (perhaps people will actually use those Waldron Diagrams); Virtual Reality will be common at Public Hearings; Driverless cars will change basic assumptions; Morphing and moving buildings will challenge them. I am sure you’ll be up to the task.

NYCZR, long may you wave!

​Dan Kaplan, FAIA, is a Senior Partner at FXFOWLE Architects

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