Manhattan Borough President Robert F. Wagner established twelve “Community Planning Councils” to advise him on planning and budgetary matters.
During Wagner’s third term as Mayor, the 1963 City Charter revision extended the neighborhood governance concept to all five boroughs. Inspired in part by Jane Jacobs’ 1961 book “The Death and Life of American Cities,” the concept of “decentralization” took the form of 62 “Community Planning Boards” throughout the city.
Mayor John Lindsay established “Little City Halls” in eight Community Districts as an experiment in citizen engagement and monitoring of City service delivery. These outposts were headed by a District Manager appointed by the Mayor to Chair the first Service Cabinets, composed of officers from key City agencies.
The adoption of the 1975 City Charter established the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), created today’s 59 Community Districts, and assigned Community Boards a formal role in decisions on land use, in the preparation of the capital and expense budgets, and in the monitoring of local service delivery.
Community Boards received additional City and State powers.
NYC voters ratified new Charter provisions, changing how City government deals with the budget, land use matters, and service delivery. The role of Community Boards in all of these areas was either expanded or reaffirmed by the new Charter.
The City charter was again revised to grant Community Boards the power to create land development plans for their entire District, called 197-a plans.
NYC voters ratified new Charter provisions, including creation of a Civic Engagement Commission to provide language translation, land use expertise, and other technical resources to Community Boards; and new term limits for Community Board Members of four consecutive 2-year terms.