Film Image
Rezoning Harlem: The Battle over Harlem's Future
Producer: Natasha Florentino, Tamara Gubernat, Juliana Alzate and Pamela Nichols
40 minutes
Rezoning Harlem: The Battle over Harlem's Future
Since 2002, more than 100 rezonings have been signed into law in New York City, including the rezoning of 125th Street in Harlem.

REZONING HARLEM follows longtime members of the Harlem community as they fight a 2008 rezoning that threatens to erase the history and culture of their legendary neighborhood and replace it with luxury housing, offices, and big-box retail. A shocking exposé of how a group of ordinary citizens, passionate about the future of their treasured community, are systematically shut out of the city’s decision-making process, revealing New York City’s broken public review system. This film provides a behind the scenes view of how policy affects gentrification, resulting in homogenous neighborhoods devoid of character.

Filmmakers' Statement:
"The 125th Street rezoning was an intense time line; we were uptown in Harlem, we were downtown at City Planning and City Hall, talking to as many people as we could and filming as much as possible. We worked closely with community members and urban planners to unravel the often cryptic planning language and navigate through the various steps in the city's land use process. We focused on historic preservation, small businesses, housing and displacement, height limits, the connection between the real estate industry and politics, and the over-arching theme: the community of Harlem that was left out of the planning process."
"The film succeeds wonderfully in portraying the passion of grassroots activists from Harlem as well as revealing the machinations of local government and the power wielded by property developers over elected officials. I believe that REZONING HARLEM is especially useful in helping the students to think of themselves as potential social change activists." - Professor Abigail Schoneboom, LaGuardia Community College
"REZONING HARLEM is an excellent educational resource for academic, community and professional audiences. Too often zoning and urban planning issues are explained in a dull and boring format. This film 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." - Professor Tom Angotti, Hunter College and Author of NEW YORK FOR SALE
"REZONING HARLEM is a rich visual text that explores the linkages between rezoning, gentrification and displacement." - Professor Lily M. Hoffman, City College of New York, CUNY
• Maysles Cinema, NY, 2008
• Hitting the Streets Screening, Hunter College, NY, 2008
• Is Gentrification a Dirty Word? Urban Studies Symposium, LaGuardia College, NY, 2008
• Gentrification Film Series, Lehman College, NY, 2009
• Brecht Forum, NY, 2009
• Grassroots Justice Festival Film Series, Brooklyn Workers Center, NY
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