Most of us don't think too hard (or at all) about zoning laws in Manhattan, unless we’re developers. That’s why we often know nothing about the regulations that literally shape the face of the Manhattan. Zoning is an all-encompassing subject that touches every aspect of new development, and it has done so for over a century. So what are the zoning rules that regulate new condo construction Manhattan? Anyone? Well, here’s a starting point to understanding our current situation: for 50 years, the basic structure of New York’s zoning laws installed by then Mayor Robert Wagner has remained the same. Currently, numerous neighborhoods such as the East Village and East Harlem are overhauling the details their zoning laws in order to accommodate new condo construction in Manhattan, but even with these changes, the basic structure of zoning laws remains untouched. A panel of planning experts met last week to discuss whether or not that structure can be improved, and the consenus was that our zoning laws are badly in need of change.