City Planning Commissioner has far-reaching influence

October 14, 2009 10:01AM

Amanda Burden has been called one of the most influential city planning commissioners in New York’s history. Over the last six months, she has overseen some of the most high-profile decisions in New York real estate: the revised heights of the Dumbo apartment building next to the Brooklyn Bridge and the MoMa tower were her doing, and some say the designer choice for the new Nets basketball arena was largely influenced by her preferences as well. On Wednesday, she’ll win the Urban Land Institute’s J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development, an award that, in the past, has gone to Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Gerald Hines. “She’s led the transformation of City Planning to an affirmative tool shaping the future of the city as opposed to an agency that reacts to developers’ proposals,” said John Alschuler, chairman of the economic development consultancy HR&A Advisors. “The sheer scope and scale of their policy reach is very broad.”