What is this?

Gotham Zoning is an interactive map that lets you:

  • find out how your building is zoned
  • learn where to locate your business
  • explore zoning patterns throughout the city

To make New York City's zoning code digestible by humans, we took inspiration from one of our favorite games: Sim City 2000.

It started with the color scheme: green for residential, blue for commercial and yellow for manufacturing. (This oversimplifies things a bit, read the full story.)

From there we got a little carried away. Graphics, sounds, music, oh my.

Gotham Zoning is a fork of 2nd City Zoning, a civic app built by Open City. Be sure to check out their great work, and consider forking this project for your city too!

What is zoning?

Zoning is the set of rules that a city comes up with to define acceptable land use in specific areas.

It consists of regulations that control how big of a building you can build on a property, what you can do inside it. You can't just build anything anywhere - every property in New York City lives in a zoning district of one kind or another.

Check out the NYC Department of City Planning's Zoning Pages for more information, including the full text of the zoning ordinance

Dear Maxis and Electronic Arts: Don't sue us!

We are using some music and sound effects from Sim City 2000 on this website. This is not to make a Sim City competitor, but to make the experience of diving in to zoning laws fun!


Sim City 2000 was made by Will Wright and Fred Haslam and many others at Maxis.

Sim City 2000 soundtrack by Brian Conrad, Sue Kasper, Justin McCormick.

© Maxis/Maxis, Electronic Arts, DSI Games/Zoo Digital (GBA), all rights reserved.

Sim City is a trademark of Maxis.

Buy it!

If you love Sim City as much as we do, go buy it!

Team and credits

Gotham Zoning is a fork of 2nd City Zoning, an Open City project.

The original Open City team is:

The project was forked for New York City by Chris Whong.


This site was built with zoning shapefiles from the New York City Department of City Planning.

The DCP Zoning Site was also referenced for basic information and text about each type of zoning district.

We love that the City of New York has opened their data for all to use. This site represents just one example of what can be done with it. We hope it inspires others to dive in to zoning (and other) civic open datasets.


All the code for this site is open source. It was built with Jekyll, Twiiter Bootstrap, Javascript, CartoDB and Leaflet and hosted on GitHub pages. The data is stored in CartoDB and was provided by the Department of City Planning.

Technologies used:

All the code for this project is up on Github.

Contact us

Found a bug? Report it on our issue tracker!

Have a suggestion? Tweet at @chris_whong. Support Open Data!