Erik Botsford: Current Challenges in Municipal Planning in New York City

man with dark hair wearing a dark suit jacket and button down shirt

Erik Botsford currently serves as the deputy director in the New York City Department of City Planning’s (NYC DCP) Manhattan division, where he oversees a staff of 20 urban planners and urban designers. His office is responsible for community planning and processing of land use applications throughout the entire borough of Manhattan. Botsford’s role as deputy director is the formulation of agency and administration policy around issues of land-use planning and development and the application of these policies to public initiatives and private land-use applications. Botsford has worked as a professional urban planner for 15 years, all of them in the Manhattan division of NYC DCP, where he began as a community planner before becoming a team leader and then deputy director. Botsford holds a master's degree in urban design and planning from the University of Washington in Seattle and a bachelor's degree in zoology from the University of Florida. He lives in Brooklyn with his husband and two children.

Abstract:

In his lecture, Botsford will discuss the role of a community planner working in municipal government and the career trajectories available for planners working in this capacity. He will also discuss his professional background, including educational history, areas of professional interest, and significant projects he has managed such as the neighborhood rezonings in West Chelsea/High Line, Inwood, and East Harlem as well as the citywide overhaul of regulations related to privately-owned public spaces (POPS). Botsford will provide a window into the current hot-button planning issues in Manhattan including concerns of "overdevelopment," tall buildings and their effects on neighborhoods, and challenges related to navigating community and elected engagement. Students will also get a sneak peek into active planning work in SoHo/NoHo and Governors Island.