Category Archives: Planned Developments

Independent on SOM site plan approval; neighbor’s lawsuit; public lecture and discussion of urban design

Dear Friends:

The press has just discovered the lawsuit that was filed on May 5th in opposition to the city of New Haven granting a Planned Development District (PDD) to Sir Norman Foster’s design for  the School of Organization and Management (SOM) project on Whitney Avenue. A link to the article is provided below.

We strongly opposed this design, because it required the demolition of two historic buildings and because the new design was grossly inappropriate to it’s historic neighborhood setting.

We had hoped to bring Ronald Lee Fleming of The Townscape Institute to testify at the Board of Aldermen’s hearings, but the board changed the hearing dates so we where unable to do this.

Mr. Fleming will be in New Haven next Thursday, May 27, to speak about:

“The University and the City: Reflections on Civic Design and Good Urban Manners”

Ronald Lee Fleming — FAICP, urban planner and designer, preservation advocate, environmental educator and critic — is an advocate of using public policy to enhance  place meaning and identity. His work seeks opportunities to create a synergism of effort among the often disparate forces affecting the quality of the built environment.  Mr. Fleming is recognized for planning, public art and urban design projects seeking to merge the skills of architects, historians and artists. His most recent publication, The Art of Place Making: Interpreting Community Through Public Art and Urban Design (Merrell Publishers 2007) is the culmination of ten years’ research. To learn more see:

In the context of the destruction of the historic streetscape of Whitney Avenue and the civic debate on Foster’s design SOM, Mr. Fleming will discuss pattern language and urban design, he will show examples of harmonious and inharmonious developments, and he will explore techniques used by communities to support good planning outcomes.

We will also celebrate the civic contributions of David Cameron, Professor of Political Science at Yale University, recipient of the League’s 2010 Urban Angel Award.

Annual Meeting
Thursday, May 27, 2010
6 PM
First Presbyterian Church Parish Hall
704 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, Connecticut

*** Refreshments and Reception ***

Look forward to seeing you all,

Anstress Farwell, President
New Haven Urban Design League

Public Hearing on the proposed SOM PDD

Dear Friends:

The Legislative Committee of the Board of Aldermen have changed the date for the second hearing on the proposed School of Organization and Management. It will be held:

New Haven Board of Aldermen
Legislative Committee
Public Hearing re:
Design and Zone change for a Planned Development District for
Yale’s new School of Organization and Management, 155-175 Whitney Avenue
February 11, 2010
6 PM
Aldermanic Chambers, City Hall, 165 Church Street

* Although the University has reduced the length of the building’s face on Whitney Avenue, it is still a mammoth building:

  • half as long as the New Haven Green
  • its entire street face is as as tall as the Peabody Museum’s tower, at 65 ft, as tall as a six story building
  • the facade facing Bradley street is 85 ft tall – as high as an eight story building
  • the experience of the building’s giant size is made even more emphatic by the scale and texture of its materials: ground to roof glass walls, blue metal silos, and roof overhang

* The plan will destroy valuable historic buildings along a coherent and beautiful urban place, while not fixing deficient circulation patterns:

  • the plan’s pedestrian and bike route on the north side of the building is narrow, and dangerous where it requires trucks, walkers and bikes to share the same narrow driveway
  • the plan includes a drop-off driveway on Whitney Avenue, in addition to its main driveway, which creates hazards for people walking, biking and driving on Whitney Avenue

* The plan fails to comply with the standards for a Planned Development DIstrict, which must, be “So designed in its space allocation, orientation, texture, materials, landscaping,and other features as to produce an environment … complimenting the design and values of the surrounding neighborhood.”


We do not oppose SOM’s expansion, we wish to see a better project that will protect and enhance this vital part of the city.

If you can not attend the hearing, please write to:

Alderman Roland Lemar, Chairman
Legislative Committee
New Haven Board of Aldermen
165 Church Street
New Haven, CT 06510

Copy to the Legislative Committee Staff:

And to us:

New Haven Urban Design League
129 Church Street Suite 419
New Haven, CT 06510
203 624 0175 t