Rezoning Harlem is an excellent educational resource for academic, community
and professional audiences. I don’t know of any other film that tells such a
dramatic story about zoning, a regulatory tool that impacts neighborhoods but few
people understand. Too often zoning and urban planning issues are explained in a
dull and boring format or loaded down with unintelligible jargon. Rezoning Harlem
is set in the midst of a sharp community battle over zoning. It shows the
intelligence and brilliance of community activists seeking to save the heart of
Harlem from speculative redevelopment. It deconstructs a complex zoning issue
in a way that enlightens, clarifies and electrifies. It will be valuable to those who
are far from Harlem and New York City because it sheds light on the critical
debates that confront all urban communities.
- Prof. Tom Angotti
Urban Policy and Planning, Hunter College (City University of New York)
I’ve used Rezoning Harlem with several urban sociology classes to explore the
linkages between rezoning, gentrification and displacement. It is a rich visual text
for grappling with these issues.
– Prof. Lily M. Hoffman
Rosenberg/Humphrey Program in Public Policy, City College of New York (CUNY) Professor
Rezoning Harlem is a key part of my urban sociology syllabus. My students find
the film lively, accessible and hard-hitting. For many, the film resonates strongly
with their own experiences of trying to maintain access to affordable
accommodation in New York City. The film succeeds wonderfully in portraying the
passion and eloquence of grassroots activists from Harlem as well as revealing
the machinations of local government and the power wielded by property
developers over elected officials. In the follow up discussions and writing
activities, where my students reflect on some of the questions raised by the film, I
believe that Rezoning Harlem is especially useful in helping the students to think
of themselves as potential social change activists.
– Dr. Abigail Schoneboom
Department of Social Science, LaGuardia Community College (CUNY) Professor
I have seen classrooms and community meetings transformed by showing Rezoning Harlem, a film that both illuminates and politicizes the processes of zoning and gentrification. By depicting the actions of the city, the motivations of investors, and the opposition of the community, this documentary presents a nuanced story in an exciting and accessible way.
-Samuel Stein, Urban Studies instructor, Hunter College (CUNY)