With its interests in revitalizing existing downtowns and small villages, Gotham supports the vitality that is created by places where people can live, work, shop, play, learn, and worship. This sometimes manifests itself in communities within large cities, such as Gotham’s Wicker Park development in Chicago. Before the automobile enabled uses to be separated, in turn creating places that lack vibrancy and are auto-centric to the extent of being unsustainable, all facets of a community were in walking distance of one another. The Great Sprawl Experiment devised zoning patterns that evolved into separate zones for office parks, shopping centers, government centers, schools, and even the separation of housing types. Gotham believes this type of land use structure is unhealthy in economic, environmental and cultural terms and has worked hard to support mixed-use buildings, as well as mixed-use neighborhoods.
When working on the new land use regulations for the Village of Dobbs Ferry, an “Aha!” moment happened during a large community meeting in which residents listed what they liked most about the Village. Apartments located over downtown retail stores were consistently identified as a positive for the village. Gotham received great support from residents as to why new land use regulations were needed by pointing out that the existing Code specifically precluded this form of mixed use as apartments were not permitted in the downtown.