But in an hourlong presentation of the project's latest design, Frank Gehry, the project's architect, and Laurie Olin, its landscape designer, emphasized details that they said would harmonize the planned arena and commercial and residential buildings with the neighborhoods they would border.
They described shorter and thinner buildings on Dean Street, where the project abuts a mostly low-rise neighborhood; extensive use of glass walls at street level; and what Mr. Olin described as "the biggest stoop in Brooklyn," a sort of public porch planned for the southeast corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues.
"It still feels like Brooklyn," said Mr. Olin.
But their presentation also made clear that the developer and its opponents still have vastly different visions of what, exactly, Brooklyn should feel like, at least in this corner of the borough, where the downtown commercial district shades into a quiet neighborhood of brownstones to the southeast.
"They should've been picketing Henry Ford," Mr. Gehry said yesterday, dismissing critics who have questioned the pace and scale of development in the borough. "There is progress everywhere. There is constant change. The issue is how to manage it."
Opponents of the project have criticized the density of Mr. Gehry's designs, among other issues, and the government's possible condemnation of property to make room for them. They have backed alternative plans for the site, including proposals by rival developers that would include mostly low-rise buildings and not require eminent domain. (Forest City Ratner is the development partner of The New York Times Company in building its new Midtown headquarters, a project that itself involved government condemnation of private property.)
Daniel Goldstein, a spokesman for Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, said the new design "puts a Gehry sheen on top of repudiated 1960's-style urban renewal."
He continued, "It's still way too big, and does not change the fact of 16 skyscrapers slammed on top of and next to low-rise, historic neighborhoods."
Mr. Goldstein also criticized Mr. Gehry for declining to meet with area residents. The project "remains an urban planning disaster," he said, because "Mr. Gehry and Mr. Ratner continue to ignore the community."
Community? What community? This is about money and more money. Who needs a basketball arena for a team who's fans are in New Jersey?And this isn't Basque Country, those buildings are a visual monstrosity which looks apart and distinct from the community. Bruce Rather is gonna have to buy off a lot more people for this to go down.