Donald Elliott, planning visionary and Brooklyn Heights resident, dies at 89
Donald H. Elliott, Brooklyn Heights resident and chair of the City Planning Commission in the late 1960s and early 1970s, died last Thursday at his home at age 89.
In his focus on small business, neighborhood preservation and keeping local residents in their homes, as seen in the 1969 Department of City Planning promotional film, “What Is the City But the People,” he and his colleagues praised brownstone neighborhoods like Park Slope, criticized “hack development” in places like Staten Island and the suburbs, and praised programs like Model Cities that were meant to encourage development in inner-city areas like Bed-Stuy.
This represented a break with the philosophy of Robert Moses, who concentrated on massive, functional-looking development and often was indifferent to the number of people he displaced.
As part of the administration of Mayor John V. Lindsay, he helped the establishment of the city’s “community planning boards,” now known as community boards, headed by district managers and containing local residents and businesspeople as members.