How Zoning Laws Defined the Shape of New York City's Iconic Skyline

You may not have noticed before, but many of Manhattan's older buildings have a specific shape based on rules that were defined by a specific zoning law enacted in 1916. The requirements were set to allow light, airflow, and a general feeling of openness to the City streets, and it worked. In this short video from Bloomberg, learn all about how the 1916 Zoning Resolution forever changed the New York City skyline, and inspired cities across the nation to enact similar regulations.

Why do so many of New York's older skyscrapers have a similar design? The answer can be traced back to a monumental 1916 zoning law, which established “setback” requirements for buildings above a certain height. In the heart of the Financial District, the Equitable Building, a historic skyscraper that predates the law, remains a symbol of the excesses of the pre-zoning era.

via Bloomberg

Matt Coneybeare

Matt Coneybeare

Editor in Chief

Matt enjoys exploring the City's with his partner and son. He is an avid marathon runner, and spends most of his time eating, running, and working on cool stuff.

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