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NYT cites current zoning laws mean that “40% of the buildings in Manhattan could not be built today,” and rightly points out that it’s precisely these “too tall” or “too dense” structures that make Manhattan great:

New York’s zoning code was the first in the country, meant to promote a healthier city, which was then filling with filthy tenements and office towers. Since it was approved in 1916, the ever-evolving, byzantine code has changed many times to suit the needs of a swollen metropolis. Just in March, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio won approval for a vast citywide plan that would encourage sleeker, more affordable developments.

Full article has some great infographics.