of the City University of New York
Department of Sociology
Sociology of Brooklyn Page

Best of the Web from Dr. Toulouse.

1. Demography & Diversity in Brooklyn

From p.14 of 'The Newest New Yorkers' (2000).

How big is the foreign-born population of Brooklyn? When did we arrive and where do we all come from?

Source: NYC Department of City Planning Report
The Newest New Yorkers 2000: Immigrant New York in the New Millennium.
Notes: Link downloads a huge PDF, so be patient. Open in Acrobat or Preview, scroll down and scan the charts and graphs for data on Brooklyn. Check out your country of origin and other groups from your neighborhood.

Check out Brooklyn's profile at the US Census

Source: United States Census 2005 Population and Housing Narrative Profile for Kings County, New York.
Notes: Scroll down for the narrative summarizing the data. But also check out the links at the top of the page to demographic, social, economic, and housing data for Brooklyn. Tread lightly, there's a lot to take in. For comparison, try one of the other boroughs, like Queens.

2. Brooklyn Neighborhoods

Detail from the Department of City Planning's 'Neighborhood Map".

Find your neighborhood on the "Neighborhood Map" of the Department of City Planning

Source: NYC Department of City Planning The New York Neighborhood Map.
Notes: Link downloads a large PDF. Open in Acrobat or Preview and scroll around the boroughs, noting the organization of neighborhoods in Brooklyn, and along the Brooklyn-Queens border.

Check out the data for your Census Tract

Source: United States Census Summary US Census data by Tract.
Notes: Enter your street number, street name, and select Brooklyn from the dropdown menu, then hit "Map it!" Scroll down past the map to take in Census data for your Census tract. Compare your data with surrounding Census tracts by clicking on the red numbers on the map.

Check out the data for your Community District

Source: United States Census Summary US Census data by NYC Community District.
Notes: Gives summaries of census data for your Community District (the three or four neighborhoods around yours). Click on the link, scroll down the page, find your Community District, and click on it. The link downloads a large PDF. Scroll down the page and take in the data. Compare your area with a wealthier area in the borough.

3. Planning in Brooklyn after Robert Moses

Robert Moses in 1938.

Moses' legacy in Brooklyn: the Gowanus Expressway

Source: Steve Anderson New York Roads: the Gowanus Expressway.
Notes: Highway enthusiast Steve Anderson's site on New York roads and his page on the Gowanus Expressway. Scan the long story of the elevated highway that bisects Sunset Park and the long debate about what should be done with it.

How is New York City Planned? With local Zoning Plans...

Source: NYC Department of City Planning Recent reports about Brooklyn.
Notes: Recent projects, studies and proposals. On this page you can see the City trying to shape the outcome of development with local zoning plans. But which big developments are not on this page?

... and the procedure for approving projects which need a zoning variance

Source: NYC Department of City Planning The ULURP.
Notes: History and stages of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (or ULURP). On this page you can see how projects get approved. Take in the stages and note how everyone gets their say, even if only some voices are heard at the end.

4. Making Sense of Gentrification

From a Powerpoint presentation by Aviva Zeltzer-Zubida
to the Center for the Study of Brooklyn.

Gentrification in the 1990s: why did it pick up pace?

Source: The Gotham Gazette The New Gentrification.
Notes: By Rebecca Weber, from December 2000. An overview of gentrification in New York City. Focuses on Park Slope.

Gentrification in the 2000s: who benefits?

Source: Kathy Newman & Elvin Wyly Gentrification and Resistance in New York City.
Notes: From the web site of the National Housing Institute, August 2005. Takes on the complex question of who benefits from gentrification. See how the process creates complex and competing interests in the neighborhood.

The role of artists in the gentrification process

Source: The Gotham Gazette Artist Displacement.
Notes: By Mike Mullar, November 2006. See how artists get moved on too.

The difficulty of studying displacement

Source: Center for the Study of Brooklyn Housing Displacement in Brooklyn: A discussion.
Notes: Event held by the Center for the Study of Brooklyn. Transcript of a discussion involving Sharon Zukin (Brooklyn College), Aviva Zeltzer-Zubida (formerly of Brooklyn College), Lance Freeman (Columbia), Jim O'Shea (Churches United for Fair Housing), and Brad Lander (Pratt). Take in how difficult it actually is to study housing displacement.

New tactics for opponents of gentrification

Source: The Gotham Gazette The New Battle against Gentrification.
Notes: By Allison Lirish Dean, August 2007. New ways to contest the local "growth coalition".

5. Anatomy of the Housing Crisis

Screen shot from the New York Times
'Community Profile: Ranking by demographic data points'.

Check out where your neighborhood ranks in the housing market

Source: New York Times Real Estate Section Community Profiles: Ranking by demographic data points.
Notes: Look for "Ranking Data" in green below the map and find "click here". The link yields a calculator which allows you to rank Brooklyn neighborhoods by real estate criteria. Compare neighborhoods by all the categories and note which do best. Why did the NYT pick those categories?

Check out housing conditions in your neighborhood

Source: NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy New City's Housing and Neighborhoods 2006.
Notes: Links downloads a huge PDF file, so be patient. Open in Acrobat or Preview. Scroll down and find the data on your neighborhood and others than rank higher and lower on the NYT's comparison.

What's the difference between Rent Control and Rent Stabilization?

Source: New York City Rent Guidelines Board Rent Stabilization: FAQ.
Notes: See how it's not as simple as people think: rent stabilization effects vastly more people.

The weakening of Rent Regulation

Source: The Gotham Gazette Rent Regulation.
Notes: By Robin Reisig, March 2003. Learn how changes made in 1997 significantly significantly weakened rent regulation by taking out of the system any vacant apartment that rents for more than $2,000 a month.

6. Selected Development Hot Spots

Coney Island

Artist's impression of development at Coney Island.

Source: The New York Times Summer Rituals under the Boardwalk: Keeping Peace on Salty Planks and Shifting Sand.
Notes: About a retired police officer: Coney Island, the way is was.

Source: The New York Times Coney Island Plan is Scaled Back, but Critics are Skeptical.
Notes: Will development recapture the magic and excitement of Luna Park, or will it be as neat & tidy and sedate as Jersey City?

Source: The Gotham Gazette Coney Island's Summer of Reckoning.
Notes: June 2007. Guest authors take stock of the possibilities.

Red Hook

Source: City Limits Red Hook: Gloom with a View.
Notes: By Mary Joe Neuberger, from August 1987. 20 years ago, and Red Hook had already caught the speculator's eye.

Source: The New York Times Two years later, a street still waits for its promised gentrification.
Notes: By Trymaine Lee, August 2007. 20 years later, and Red Hook is still struggling to fulfil its promise.

Source: The New York Times Q&A with Red Hook developer Greg O'Connell: the importance of balanced growth.
Notes: Center for an Urban Future, March 2005 (the think tank behind 'City Limits' magazine). Why it takes a long time, a lot of money, and even more luck to turn a neighborhood around.

Atlantic Yards

Developer's model shows the scale and scope of Atlantic Yards.

Source: National Real Estate Investor Bruce Ratner's Grand Plan for Brooklyn.
Notes: By Nancy Cohen, from April 2004. It's a whole new downtown for Brooklyn: a 21-acre complex, featuring a 19,000 seat basketball arena, 2.1m square feet of office space, 300,000 square feet of stores, and 4,500 apartments.

Source: brooklynspeaks.com Atlantic Yards Slideshow.
Notes: How big is BIG? Slideshow at brooklynspeaks.com an umbrella organization representing local civic organizations like the Brooklyn Heights Association and preservation groups like the Municipal Arts Society.

Source: Forest City Ratner Community: Investing in Brooklyn.
Notes: Linkloads a PDF. Take in the scope of the community benefits agreement.

Source: The Gotham Gazette Community: Investing in Brooklyn.
Notes: Tom Angotti, November 2005. A liberal view argues that the Atlantic Yards planning process put the cart before the horse.

Source: The City Journal Kill off Atlantic Yards: The Forest City/Ratner project is everything that's wrong with the Empire State.
Notes: Nicole Gelinas, December 2006. A conservative view argues that Atlantic Yards wastes public money on subsidizing private development.

Source: The New York Times Official seeks possible risk in big project in Brooklyn.
Notes: Nicolas Confessore & Andy Newman, July 2007. Wonders if Forest City/Ratner can deliver the project on-time as scheduled.

Source: City Limits Cultivate the Grassroots: A new development model.
Notes: Curtis Stephen, August 2007. Why the poor people's advocates ACORN support the Atlantic Yards development.

Source: The Next American City A new dynamic: Atlantic Yards challenges Brooklyn progressive politics.
Notes: Michael Freedman-Schnapp, Summer 2006. Reflects on the canny tactics of the developers.

7. Newspapers, Guides, and Blogs

Screen shot of Downtown Brooklyn from Google Earth.

Brooklyn News Sources

Source: Courier Life Publications Brooklyn Neighborhood Newspapers.
Notes: Check out your local Courier Life newspaper.

Source: The Brooklyn Eagle The Brooklyn Eagle .
Notes: Famous old name. Founded in 1841.

Source: Channel 12: Brooklyn The Brooklyn Eagle .
Notes: Like New York 1 but for "da borough". Available on Time-Warner cable and to everyone via the Internet. Click on the links to see news video.

Guides to Brooklyn

Source: Brooklyn.com Brooklyn Neighborhood Map .
Notes: Go to the Neighborhood menu and pick your neighborhood. Ties in with Google Maps. Note the option top right of the map to switch to Satellite view.

Source: NotforTourists.com Annotated New York City Maps .
Notes: Scroll down the page and look for the link on the right to "The Outer Boroughs". Open the maps in Acrobat and Preview and you will find that they scale up nicely.

Source: The Gotham Gazette Best of Brooklyn .
Notes: Annotated list of inks to many of the borough's larger organizations.

Brooklyn in Pictures

Source: Dr. Jerry Krase Italian American Urban Landscapes: Images of Social and Cultural Capital.
Notes: Brooklyn sociologist Jerry Krase provides an overview of urban theory and discusses how "read" the changing cityscape.

Sources: Selected Photoblogs
Big Sky Brooklyn
A Brooklyn Life
Brit in Brooklyn
City Noise: Brooklyn, NY