Who CIVITAS Is

We are a union of citizens dedicated to improving neighborhood quality of life in New York City’s neighborhoods, focusing on the Upper East Side and East Harlem since 1981.

CIVITAS promotes sound, context-sensitive urban planning, zoning, and land use policies that are improving the quality of urban life in our neighborhoods.

CIVITAS supports environmentally conscientious development, vibrant street level retail activity, uncluttered sidewalks and access to efficient public transit.

CIVITAS supports context-sensitive development that allows light and air to reach surrounding buildings and the sidewalk below.

CIVITAS commissions urban planning studies, speaks out at public hearings, issues reports and keeps its members informed on current issues impacting urban life, including traffic congestion, historic preservation, zoning variances, water quality and public access to neighborhood and waterfront parks.

Mission Statement

In 1981, when CIVITAS was founded, August Heckscher, its first chair, hearkened back to the Roman Republic to find a name that would express the spirit of the new community organization. The name chosen, “CIVITAS,” referred to that quality of a citizen that made him deeply involved in the life and fate of his city. Such has been the guiding spirit for CIVITAS ever since.

The mission of CIVITAS is to foster, mobilize, and coordinate civic concern in the waterfront communities of Manhattan’s Upper East Side and East Harlem. To that end, CIVITAS seeks to promote, preserve and protect existing residential neighborhoods that are lively and livable.