URBANISM OF INCLUSION
Urbanism of Inclusion, Sunset Park Submitted to the Department of Architecture, Urbanism and Planning, Faculty of Engineering, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Urbanism and Strategic Planning September 2012 Authors Jana Grammens Amber Kevelaerts Maarten Wauters
MaUSP Student, thesis MaUSP Student, thesis MaUSP Student, thesis
Supervisor Bruno de Meulder
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven (Belgium)
Co-supervisors Maarten Van Acker
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven (Belgium
Readers Bruno De Meulder Els Vervloesem Kees Doevendans Miodrag Mitrasinovic
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven (Belgium) Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven (Belgium) Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, Eindhoven (Netherlands) Parsons The New School for Design, New York (United States of America)
Copyright ÂŠ 2012 by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. All rights reserved. All text, images, graphics and other materials in this publication are subject to the copyright and other intellectual property rights of the authors, supervisor and co-supervisors, unless otherwise credited. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or modified in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the supervisor. Permissions should be addressed to Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Faculty of Engineering - Kasteelpark Arenberg 1, B3001 Heverlee (Belgium). Telephone +32 16 32 13 50 and Fax +32 16 32 19 82. A written permission is also required to use methods, products, schematics and programs described in this work for industrial or commercial use, and for submitting this publication in scientific contests. All images are made by the authors unless mentioned otherwise.
The Atlantis program, of which this book results, has
assistant Jessika. We greatly appreciate their continuous
been an enriching experience. The program allowed
support and care during the time we spent in New York.
us to take part in an exchange with Parsons the New School of design to New York. This thesis work has been
Furthermore, we would like to thank all the students
a great and stimulating journey and is the final work of a
that we worked together during the development of this
work. Students of the New School, Civic City program, the Atlantis program participants and our colleagues in
This booklet could, however, not have been realized
Leuven whom all have given us great experiences that
without the support, critical feedback and encourage-
have enriched our work.
ment of many people. First and foremost, we express our sincerest gratitude to our supervisor, professor Bruno
We would like to thank Maura for her advice and taking
de Meulder, for his inspiration and guidance. We wish
care of many administrative burdens and thus making
to thank professor de Meulder for all his insights and
our studies and exchange that much easier.
continuous support during our process of this research and the entire Master of Urbanism and Strategic Planning.
Finally, we are thankful to our family, friends and loved-ones, who have supported us throughout our
Subsequently, we would like to offer our gratitude to
our American co-supervisors professor Miguel RoblesDuran, Maarten Van Acker, Quilian Riano and Angel Luis
Team Urbanism of Inclusion
Lara, who guided our New York studio and research.
Amber, Jana, Maarten
We also wish to thank Miodrach Mitrasinovic and his
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Growing in Urban Landscapes Urban Agriculture as an Alternative
Introduction Problem statement Methodology Sunset Park
Analysis Social needs Sunset Park multi-etnic neighborhood Demographics Health statistics Education
Public infrastructure 2
Public space Sewage system
Stakeholders New York city
Community board 7 Civil Society
Civil society as an alternative
An alternative solution Working with La Union
General concept Combined strategies
Towards an inclusive fabric The global food system The disconnection of food and the city The global food system creating disparities Local alternatives Local alternatives and urban agriculture The benefits of urban agriculture Manifestations of Urban Agriculture Urban agriculture in New York Urban agriculture in Sunset Park Potential spaces for urban agriculture Alternative food supply for Sunset Park Total potential of Urban agriculture in Sunset Park Urban agriculture creating spaces of opportunity Bush Terminal rooftop farms A new public space From brownfield to green infrastructure Urban agriculture, an alternative production
Towards a learning community
Dynamics of New Social Economies Historical Industrial Landscapes
Education, inclusion and urbanism
Education in NYC
Educational barriers and opportunities in
Environmental Justice & Sunset Park
Garbage wars Environmental justice in an
age of garbage
Where to go with all this waste?
Learning from other cases
New Economical Impuls from waste burden to waste opportunity
Design proposal Dynamics of New Social Economies Local assets Brownfield Opportunities Brownfield strategies Site Proposal Stakeholders â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;TASTE-THE-WASTEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; program Creating synergies Conclusion
Life long learning
COL- the city of learning
Sunset Park Promise neighborhood
Stakeholders Design proposal
Sunset Park highschool
Sunset Waterfront school
Urbanism has a potential to change the structure of the city. As designers we need to be conscious of the disparities that exist in society and aim for an urbanism that changes the urban fabric to serve the ever changing needs of communities. Inclusive urbanism is seen as a practice of urban design that addresses the contemporary urban
conditions equitably; and, from the territorial and socioecological issues related to the effects of globalization --dualization, gentrification, mobility and migrations, territorial fragmentation, and uneven development-- and
the recognition that these issues most deeply affect the urban poor and the traditionally marginalized social groups. (Parsons the New School, 2012)
In the western world the welfare system provides services that aim at negating disparities. Increasing privatization and processes of exclusion leave some areas of the city neglected and underfunded. In these cases there is a need to look for alternative ways to produce structures that serve the needs of people and counter the inequality that is present in the city.
The study area of Sunset Park is a multiethnic, multiracial neighborhood, which is marked by an increasing
population, largely due to immigration. This reflects in a low-income community with high dropout rates and health disparities. (Hum, 2010) The neighborhood is stagnant in development, in contrast to the population growth, a significant number of properties are vacant or underused. The investment in the residential part of the neighborhood and waterfront is currently limited due to the global economical situation. There is a willingness of the city government to develop the sunset park waterfront as has happened in other areas of the city. With the disappearance of manufacturing industries and the reduction of water based transport the Brooklyn waterfront lost part of its activities. In some areas of 6
Brooklyn the waterfront has already been transformed in residential areas with effects of displacement and gentrification.
The aim of the research and design is to use the current needs and visions in New York city and the neighborhood of Sunset Park furthering towards a more inclusive urban fabric. Education, Urban food production and Waste recycling are themes for which the city of New York is currently in need of alternatives and manifest themselves within the urban fabric of Sunset Park. Is there a future development in Sunset Park, which embraces bottom up needs and processes, that reflects the need for a more inclusive city? Location of case study (Based on Bing Maps, 2012)
The research for this thesis has been part of several different projects. The large overarching theme of urbanisms of inclusion is a collaborative research project between a network of European universities and universities in the United States. In the frame of the joint research an exchange program has been set up for thesis students that are encouraged to explore the theme urbanisms of inclusion. As part of this exchange the initial research and the case study have been first explored within the Urban Ecology studio in the school of design strategies of The New School in New York City.
The Urban Ecology studio was a research project with a 8
small design component, which was partaken by a broad range of design students. The design teams were multidisciplinary and had students from a diverse background.
Driving group with La Union, participatory research (Authors, 2012)
The aim of the studio was to explore broad research
different social research tools were used in parallel to
themes. The overall goal of the studio was to understand,
more classic mapping techniques.
negate and speculate on complex urban conditions. The specific neighborhood of Sunset Park was selected, for
The studio and exchange to Parsons have created an
this allowed a focusing on the intricacies of low income
understanding of the case study of Sunset Park. This
neighborhoods and its delicate urban ecosystem.
has created a basis in relations and knowledge about Sunset Park, which is used in this thesis to develop
Another particular element of this studio was the
further specific research topics and design. The thesis
emphasis on social-praxis, a social research perspective
is a combined research in which each of the participants
that focuses on social movements and communities are
has explored personal subjects to develop the theme
already producing knowledge, methodologies, and even
of Urbanisms of Inclusion. These subjects overlap and
epistemic positions that are useful for social sciences
touch upon different themes and most parts of the works
and the design disciplines. The research process was
are constructed in close collaboration. The goal of the
supported by a socioligist Angel Luis Lara and formed a
research has been to create a work where the different
collaboration with neighborhood organization La Union.
parts are complementary and reflect on the future of
Interviews, socio geographic mapping and a number of
Sunset Park and the city.
Guided tour through Sunset Park with La Union (Authors, 2012)
Sunset Park is a vibrant neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Sunset Park has been greatly transformed over the last decades by a new wave of immigration. The new immigration reflects in a part of the population that has limited access to services such as healthcare, education,â&#x20AC;Ś The residents of Sunset Park are largely Hispanic and Chinese in origin. A lack representation and poverty have resulted in a level of self-organization through community-based organizations. The residential neighborhood of Sunset Park lies next to an industrial waterfront. The waterfront had historically been the economical driver of Sunset park, providing jobs and a livelihoods. The industrial waterfront is now typified by 10
Sunset Park, a neighborhood of diversity
large underused spaces and buildings, which are vacant. With the current economical crisis the area has few perspectives for development, thus alternatives developments have a potential in Sunset Park. The rich case of Sunset Park reflects global issues and questions about the future of the city. However the specific research topics embedded within the thesis are derived from actively participating within the community and discovering the issues that are of concern to the community.
Map Sunset Park (Authors,2012)
Sunset Park multi-etnic neighborhood
For years Sunset Park was the first destination for waves of immigrants all over the world. A sequence of Irish, Norwegian, Finn and Italian immigrants had settled here and left there stamps on the neighborhood. After the neighborhood decline in the 60â&#x20AC;&#x2122;- 70â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a huge population of Puorto Ricans found there new home in Sunset Park followed by other hispanic communities such as Mexican and Dominican populations. More recently a huge chinese wave of immigrants has been settling in the 14
east part of Sunset park as well. At this moment a clear division between these Hispanic and Chinese population is extremely visible in the urban tissue of Sunset Park. The consequences and needs that the neighborhood today experiences, due to its immigration history and status on the one hand, and the evolution of the neighborhood on the other hand is not to be underestimated.
The population in Sunset park tremendously.
is still growing
As Sunset Park is a low-income and
more and more dense neighborhood it has to deal with a lot of struggles and social needs which manifestate on different levels, such as economy, education, health, housing and so on. Mixed identities in Sunset Park (Authors, 2012)
Chinese New Year on 8th Avenue, Sunset Park (Authors, 2012)
Demographics New York City
1 214,4 kmÂ˛
8. 349. 788
Median household income Citizenship
x5 x 3,2 x 1,16
50.825 51,4% Others
Latino Demographics. (Center for the Study of Brooklyn, 2012)
Community district 7 - Sunset Park
2. 551. 964
Top 5 languages spoken at home Formosan/Taiwanese 2,2%
Asian 27,8% Black 3,6%
Sunset Park always have been a multi etnic immigrant neigborhood. Currently a large hispanic population as well as an increasing chinese population are the dominating races. Although these two groups inhabit the same neigbourhood, they are strongly divided in to the urban tissue.
The hispanic population lives on the west side of Sunset Park, mostly between 4th and 6th avenue. 5th avenue is the major commercial street of this group. The chinese population, on the other hand settled on the east side between 7th and 9th avenue with 8 avenue as their main commercial street.
Demographics. (Center for the Study of Brooklyn, 2012)
Hispanic & chinese population: authors, 2012
57,2% of Renters in Sunset park pays more then 30% on rent.
34,2% or renters in Sunset park pays more then 50% on rent. Only 3,1% of public and subsidized units available in Sunset park.
Residential units between 3th and 8th avenue from 30th until 60th street.
Housing. (Center for the Study of Brooklyn, 2012)
Residential street, (Authors, 2012)
Brownstone housing in Sunset Park(Authors,2012)
Health and well being is a profound issue in Sunset Park. A lack of health insurance and a polluting environment and condition of poverty are leading to poor health of the Sunset Park residents. Obesity, diabetes, asthma and heath failure are statistically higher in Sunset Park as compared to Brooklyn and New York.
Global fast food
Hospital: toxic waste
Global fast food
Health statusfigures. (based on: NYC Health, 2006)
Hospital: toxic waste
Illegal landfill *Combined sewage overflow
Diagram health status. (NYC Health, 2006)
The initial study around education already revealed a
web of different issues inhabitants of Sunset Park have to deal with.
Education is an important aspect in the individuals, community, city and state level to achieve economical success, success in the labour market and success in life in general. For the majority of people your education level will determine your income level, your place in the class
specified only on the formal system of public and private schools but that education concerns the community as a whole. As such different layer of formal as wel informal, additional education can be explored in the educative landscape of Sunset Park.
system, your health and your future.
Furhtermore, it became clear that education can not be
lack in OUTDOOR space
LACK IN AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS
FORMAL EDUCATION SYSTEM ?
How can we provide appropriat educational support on each level?
How can solving small physical problems be a catalist for problems in bigger scales?
HIGH DROPOUTS yearly state exams
cutting funds on special education
lack in INDOOR space
NON PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
How can trust be strengthened in organizations through education?
What is our task in this part?
ContactI Jeremy Laufer
Granja los colibries community garden La Union 219 34th St, NY Brooklyn 11232 (between 4th and 5th ave
Contact: Jess Nizar firstname.lastname@example.org (347)-460-1393
Bay ridge childcare cent 322 44th Street Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 768-5030
Sunset park children’s s 4616 4th Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718)-439-3323
Community Board 7 4201 4th Avenue Brooklyn , NY 11232 (718) 854-0003 email@example.com
Martin Luther playground 2 Avenue, between 55 St. and 56 St Brooklyn, NY 11220
Head Starts: adult and continuing education 4222 4th avenue Brooklyn, NY11232
Lutheran medical health center 5800 3rd Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 745-1092
St. Andrews community 4917 4th Ave Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 492-9678
Sunset park Branch libr 5108 4th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 567-2806
Center for family life 345 43rd Street Brooklyn, NY 11232 (718) 788-3500
Community garden 64th street between 3th and 4th avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220
contact: John Kixmiller www.greenthumbnyc.org
Center for family life 5505 4th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220, United States (718) 492-3585
ContactI Jeremy Laufer
Lutheran Medical 4520 4th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 439-5841
Center for family life 345 43rd Street Brooklyn, NY 11232 (718) 788-3500
Head Starts: adult and c education 4222 4th avenue Brooklyn, NY11232
Lutheran Medical 4520 4th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 439-5841
Bay ridge childcare center 322 44th Street Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 768-5030
Sunset park children’s school 4616 4th Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718)-439-3323
Our lady of perpetual help 526 59th Street Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718)-492-9200
Turning point 5220 4th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 360-8100 www.tpdomi.org
Metropolitan learning institute 550 59th Street Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718)-492-2120 www.gettraining.org
Rainbow playground 6 Ave. Bet. 55 St. And 56 St. Brooklyn, NY 11220 www.nycgovparks.org/parks
St. Andrews community daycare 4917 4th Ave Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 492-9678
Happy dragon of New York 5805th 7th ave Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718)-439-8816
Head start center 4419, 7th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 222-6323
Turning point 5220 4th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 360-8100
Sunset park recreation center 7th Avenue at 43rd Street Brooklyn, NY 11232 (718) 965-6533
Sunset park Branch library 5108 4th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 567-2806
contact: Lynn McEvoy www.nycgovparks.org
Sunset Park High Scho 153 35th Street Brooklyn, NY 11232 (718) 840-1900
I Corinne Vira 25 Principal Assistent principal I Vic
PS 24 427 38 Street Brooklyn, NY 11232 (718)-832-9366
Principal I Christina Fu 6 7 Formal education
Sunset Park High School 153 35th Street Brooklyn, NY 11232 (718) 840-1900
PS 24 427 38 Street Brooklyn, NY 11232 (718)-832-9366
PS 310 6214 4th avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 765-4630
Principal I Christina Fuentes
Principal I Yuqing Hong
IS 136 Charles O Dewey school 4004 4th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11232 (718)-965-3333
PS 1 The Bergen elementary School 309 47 Street Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718)-567-7661
Sunset park border
Road network Sunset park border
St. Agatha school 736 48th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718)-435-3137
PS 94 The henry Longfellowv 5010 6th Avenue Brooklyn NY 11220 (718) 435-6034
Principal I Muhammad Abdul Basir
Principal I Janette Caban
PS 503 The school of discovery 330 59 Street Brooklyn NY 11220 (718) 439-5962
Our Lady of Perpetual help 5902 6th avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 439-8067
PS 506 The school of journalism and technology 330 59 Street Brooklyn NY 11220 (718)-492-0087 Principal I Lisa Sarnicola
Principal I Jennifer Eus
Al Madrasa al islamay 5224 3rd Ave Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 567-3334
Principal I Muhammad 10
Principal I Bernadette Fitzgerald
Formal education Formal education
PS 169 Sunset Park 4305 7 Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11232 (718)-853-3224
PS 1 The Bergen eleme 309 47 Street Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718)-567-7661
Principal I Alice Rios
Principal I Jennifer Eusanio
Al Madrasa al islamay 5224 3rd Ave Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 567-3334
Principal I Josephine Santiago
Principal I Eric Sacler
IS 136 Charles O Dewey 4004 4th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11232 (718)-965-3333 Principal I Eric Sacler
Principal I Ruth Stanislaus
Principal I Corinne Viral Assistent principal I Victoria Antonini
PS 971 6214 4th avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718)-765-2200
PS 503 The school of di 330 59 Street Brooklyn NY 11220 (718) 439-5962 Principal I Bernadette
Principal I Patricia Winters
PS 506 The school of jo 330 59 Street Brooklyn NY 11220 (718)-492-0087
Principal I Lisa Sarnico
OPEN SPACE Sunset park: 1/4 of an acre/person New york standard: 2.5 acres/Person American standards: 6-10 acres/Person
27 Greenwood cemetery (466.2 acres)
Heffernan square 0.03 acre
Nicholas Brizzi playgr. 0.54 acre Sunset Park 25.4 acre Rappaport Playgr. 1.15 acre
IS 220 playground 0.82 acre
PS 105 playground 0.56 acre PS1 playground 1.55 acre
Playground Three-Forty 1.25 a. Bush Terminal Park 17.3 acre PS506 Playgr. 1.1 acre Martin Luther playgr. 0.91 acre John Allen Payne Park 1.51 acre
64th str comm. garden
Hamilton export Brooklyn
Informal glass collection
spaces which due to regulations where not built up. They predominantly exist of non-permeable surface and are often determined with restrictions, such as age categories, and time bounded due to school properties,
Since the starter of the industrial era Sunset park neigh-
but they serve as a welcome place and tend to be
borhood started to grow exponentially. As the neighbor-
hood began to overcrowd Sunset Park was the only open space left untouched to counter the densely urbanizing
area. Now after many years it is still marked as the only
The cemetery that serves a large part of Manhattan and
green open space you can go for recreation, indoors as
Brooklyn, functions as both an oasis and a boundary for
well as outdoors. Still in terms of population density it is
the inhabitants of Sunset Park Neighborhood. Due to the
the only place mentionable in size.
former rail yard it is topographical disconnected from the neighborhood.
Other clearly smaller recreational spaces are charac-
For the illegal neighborhood dwellers the cemetary
terized by their presence near a school, or as leftover
contains an emotional disconnect since undocumented
Sunset Park with view over Manhattan (Authors, 2012)
people cannot be buried here.
Public Space versus open space
As a reaction against the lack of space and opportunities
Apart from the limited amount of public space, there is
in Sunset park two neighborhood groups started their
a scarce amount of unutilized space or â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;under-utilizedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;
own community gardens. One of them is owned by the
space that can be defined in different categories; vacant
community group that worked together with the Parsons
lots, parking space and dumping spaces. Also within
students during the course of the first phase of the
building blocks there are often spaces that are because
project. La Ganjita, the garden of La Union and the 64th
of the ownership just used as parking space.
Street Community Garden appropriated a vacant lot for community purposes. The gardens function as meeting
spaces but also for growing vegetables, for individual or
In sharp contrast with the spaces in Sunset Park neigh-
borhood there is a large amount of open space which is defined by former industries. In the waterfront area large acres of concrete space, predominantly city owned are left abandoned after their indutrial purposes.
Brownfield at the water front (Authors, 2012)
New York City has a combined sewer system, a mixture of stormwater and waste water is processed and expelled at a waste water treatment plant. A combined sewer system collects both wastewater from demestic, commercial and industrial sources with runoff water from streets and buildings. The collected wastewater is then treated before it is released to streams, rivers or lakes. Problems arise when the system is overloaded after a
OPEN SPACE Sunset park: 1/4 of an acre/person New york standard: 2.5 acres/Person American standards: 6-10 acres/Person
big storm. 32
Owls head water treatment plant
Estimanted annual average sewage overflow through each outfall 2.0 billion gallons 1.0 billion gallons 100 million Each year in New York, billions of gallons of sewage and runoff overflow through 490 points, or â&#x20AC;&#x153;outfallsâ&#x20AC;?, into the harbor and rivers when it rains heavily, because sewage treatment plants cannot hold the capacity. Map: Combined sewage outfalls and waste water treatment plants (Duhigg, 2009)
Waste water treatment plant
Problems arise w hen the system is overloaded after a big storm.
On a dry day: Wastew ater and street runoff collected in
After a big storm: Runoff from streets causes collector
the sew er is blocked by a partial dam in the collection pipe
to overfill. When untreated w astew ater rises above the dam
and flow s by gravity to the treatment plant.
Heffernan square 0.03 acre in collector pipe, it is discharged into the river.
Greenwood cemetery (466.2 acres)
Nicholas Brizzi playgr. 0.54 acre Sunset Park 25.4 acre Rappaport Playgr. 1.15 acre
IS 220 playground 0.82 acre
PS 105 playground 0.56 acre PS1 playground 1.55 acre
Playground Three-Forty 1.25 a. Bush Terminal Park 17.3 acre PS506 Playgr. 1.1 acre Martin Luther playgr. 0.91 acre John Allen Payne Park 1.51 acre
Source: New YorkWastewater Department ofand Environmental Protection On a dry day: street runoff collected in the
After a big storm: Runoff from streets causes collector to overfill. When untreated wastewater rises above the dam in collector pipe, it is discharged into the river.
64th str comm. garden
sewer is blocked by a partial dam in the collection pipe and flows by gravity to the treatment plant.
Rainwater drainage schemes (Duhigg, 2009)
33 Hamilton export Brooklyn
Informal glass collection
SIMS recycle Brooklyn
CSO discharge Waste collecting
Sunset Park + surrouding
New York City
Firstly it is interesting to understand the past planning processes of top down policies, which have led to the current neighborhood structure. These policies addressed benefits for the greater New York, neglecting its neighborhood residents. Leading towards a distressed landscape with stigmatizing uses such as garbage transfer stations, sewage treatment plants, bus depots and fossil fuel power plants.
The waterfront development plans are currently still pursuing the trend neglecting the neighborhoods needs
In our research we investigated on the role of a divers
with project proposals such as Sunset Energy Fleetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s
amount of stakeholders, which are defined by different
proposal for a power plant at 22nd Street, instead of
power structures. Our aim is to equally give voice to each
the implementation of a public high school, which has
stakeholder individually and re-imagine which are the
currently been removed from the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s budget.
collective needs. The cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s current interest in post-industrial waterfront neighborhoods has lead to gentrification in neighborhoods such as Williamsburg and Park Slope. By reaffirming the position of industrial waterfront for Sunset Park this has been the only counter lever to the displacement trends.
Community board 7
and determine the community’s response to citywide issues or make choices on local issues.
To understand the power of the Community Board better Brooklyn’s Community Board 7 represents the neighbor-
we conducted an interview with CB7s District Manager
hoods of Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace, East Windsor
Jeremy Laufer. He is currently involved in designing a new
Terrace, South Park Slope, and Greenwood Heights.
idea for the waterfront together with a local community
New York has 59 Community Boards citywide of which
group UPROSE. And has a lot of useful information for
18 in Brooklyn.
the further evolvement of our project.
Community Board 7 is a local level of City government
“Sunset Park for a long time didn’t have any elected
comprised of 50 volunteer Board Members who are
officials, together with the fact that it is a immigrant neigh-
appointed to two-year terms by the Borough President
borhood and has a low percentage of voters, resulted in
and the local City Council members. The Community
an industrial area where negative impact facilities were
Boards allow communities to have a say in local decisions
placed.” (Laufer, 2012)
They often function as a mediator between the needs of neighborhood residents and the plans of New York City for the development of the Neighborhood. But stressed that they have little to no power to change policies, they only function as advisors.
This mediating function does not always seem the best position in regards of the trust of viable neighborhood members because of their close relation to the government, and the distrust of the residents in top down policies. Jeremy Laufer (Authors, 2012)
An important aspect in a neighborhood as Sunset Park
BROOKLYN FOOD COALITION is a grassroots organi-
is the network of organizations that form the civil society.
zation dedicated to the vision of a just and sustainable
They form the key element between the voice of the
food system in Brooklyn. The organization is involved in
citizens and the power of the decisions makers. In the
neighborhoods in three areas: Community organizing,
US this kind of community- organizations is very present
education and public awareness, research and advocacy.
and there existence is often crucial to become change
The coalition organizes food workshops for urban
towards a more socially equal environment.
farmers, as well as being involved in national lobbying for more just food systems. The diverse actions of the
In Sunset park a strong connection between the historical
organization aim at building an inclusive, multi-racial,
needs and problems of the neighborhood, the settlement
multi-cultural alliance of residents and community-based
of new groups of immigrants and the emergence of
groups from all parts of Brooklyn, reflecting the boroughâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s
different community â&#x20AC;&#x201C; based organizations is visible.
civil society as mediator to address needs and poential for development
CENTER FOR FAMILY LIFE is the organization that
UPROSE is the oldest community group in Sunset Park
has probably the strongest connection with different
and was founded as a reaction against the environmental
programmes in collaboration with public schools withing
deteriorating and health concerns after years of polluting
Sunset park. These programes include after-school
industrial economy at the Sunset Park waterfront. Uprose
or art projects. Besides this the organization also has
organizes several programs to address issues concerning
educational programmes that concern youth and adult
the waterfront development, land use, brownfields, trans-
portation, air quality, open space, alternative energy, and environmental health. Presently they received an EPA
SUNSET PARK ALLIANCE provides education and
(Environmental Protection Agency) grant to make a BOA
services for disconnected youth to return to the classroom
(Brownfield Opportunity Area) study at the waterfront.
TURNING POINT mainly addresses the needs of adolescent boys, particularly those at risk for drug or gang related activities, expanded their services to include crisis intervention, tutoring, after school and summer programs.
Generally almost all organizations offer in a way a kind of education. A lot have educational programs that are specified on certain topics.
NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; main aim is to
SOUTH WEST BROOKLYN DEVELOPMENT COOR-
empower low and middle income residents in Brooklyn
PORATION is an organization that provides programs
to secure quality housing and build financial assets.
and advocacy to help business in Sunset Park and surrounding neighborhoods.
SUNSET PARK REDEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE acts as a developer but is a non-profit organization that is concerned with restoring apartment buildings and keeping rents affordable. For the moment they continue a redevelopment and acquisition mission for vacant 38
buildings throughout Brooklyn. They manage buildings, provide technical assistance and organize tenants associations.
5th AVENUE COMMITTEE Through the development of affordable housing and property management, 5th avenue committee tries to improve the living environment for inhabitants in different neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
LUTHERAN MEDICAL HEALTH CENTER is the major
Sunset Park is a neighborhood that is characterized by
stakeholder in providing health services in Sunset Park.
its history of migration. The vast Latin American and
They played an important role in the revitalization of
Chinese population whom are now settled in Sunset Park
the neighborhood and today you can find the Lutheran
are mostly first-generation immigrants and a major part
hospital and more Lutheran family health centers spread
of them are undocumented/illegal.
over the area of Sunset Park. ATLAS is a recently established organization and calls itself a cooperative empowerment center for immigrant youth. They offer workshops, advocacy and consultations around the rights and laws of immigrants.
LA UNION is the community organization that we have worked with during our fieldwork in Sunset Park, their main aim is to support immigrant families with the issues around their legal status. One of the programs they support is the DREAM ACT, who tries to strive for the rights of undocumented immigrants to go to college or university.
HISPANIC COMMUNITY Chinese Staff and Workers Association CHINESE COMMUNITY Center for Family Life
Lutheran Health Center SUNSET PARK
Sunset Park Redevelop Committee
SouthWest Brooklyn Development Coorporation 5th Avenue Committee
Children of the City SOUTH - WEST BROOKLYN Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow
the neighborhood and
the industrial watefront together with
reversal through the arrival of a low low income hispanic community made condistions in Sunset park detoriate.
The start of revitalization through the upswing of community-based organizations that organized
strongly under the lead of Lutheran Family health centers and Uprose. A second major ethnic chinese community integrating in Sunset Park.
(sources for stakeholder analysis based on: Winnick, 1990; Brooklyn Community Board 7, 2007)
Sunset Park Business Improvement District
Brooklyn Chinese American Association
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Sunset Park Alliance
Brooklyn Food Coalition
Sunset park still knows as tremendiously growth with a new chinese population coming up. A trend
that made new organizations arise to fight for there rights and to nourish the awareness of the inhabitants.
During the 60â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and 70â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sunset park knew a period of strong decline caused by several circumstances. On the one hand, whole New York was suffering from economical trends and the upswing of cheap labor which made economies detoriate. On the other hand, more specific for Sunset Park were the closure of the American Machine and Foundry building and deactivation of the Brooklyn Army Terminal. In this period not only the economy of Sunset Park was in change but the neighborhood also knew a remarkable cultural reversal. The current mostly norwegian population began to leave Sunset Park to go to better abodes in the suburbs. The dwellings of these departed were replaced through a 42
Civil society as an alternative
mainly Puorto rican - population. A lower income- group that through deficiency in skills and language was not able to improve the situation. Besides this, the construction of the Gowanus expressway along third avenue -that cuts the neighborhood in two- was no good for the neighborhood as well. It discouraged investments in Sunset Park and a lot of people and business were displaced to go to more flourishing areas.
An important factor in the revitalization of the area are due to the efforts of the inhabitants and the commitment of them into community - based, non- profit organizations. Here the Lutheran Medical Health Center was a pioneer
to start the revitalization of the Sunset Park neighbor-
pated in the demand for public resources.
hood. The proposal for a major meatpackings distribu-
However, despite all the efforts, Sunset Park remains
tion plant in Sunset Park at the same location where
a relatively poor neighborhood that scores lower than
Lutheran medical health center was considering to build
averages in Brooklyn and where the industrial waterfront
a new hospital was the turning point for the community.
is still not used by its full potential.
In 1969 this resulted in a huge protest which lead to the
ethnicity of the neigborhood is changing again. A large
development of the first community organizations in the
chinese population is settling around eight avenue. This
neighborhood wich was called the Sunset Park rede-
huge population growth, mainly between 1990 and 2000
velopment committee and who became the principal
made problems in a more and more dense Sunset Park
instrument for urban renewal in the neighborhood. The
even increase. Even today the population of Sunset park
organization covered connections to a main part of the
is increasing tremendously. A trend that made new orga-
neighborhoods churches, local business, ethnic orga-
nizations arise to fight for there rights and to nourish the
nizations,... The role of Lutheran medical health center
awareness of the inhabitants.
in the further revitalization of Sunset Park is not to be
undervalued. They became much more then providing
It is obvious that trough looking to the
health care in the area and the construction of a hospital.
these organizations a clear connection between the
They were the leading organization that was concerned
development of them and issues and problems in the
abouth the disadvanteged members of its community
neighborhood in certain periods can be made. The
and the wider interest in the neighbourhood, its potentials
presence of these community-based organizations is of
and possibilities. They were resoluted to bringe all
crucial importance for Sunset Park and its development
state, federal or city funds that were possible to there
towards a more inclusive neighbourhood. They form the
Uprose, an independent ethnic organiza-
indespinsable links between the voice of the people and
tion, was as well one of the main pioneers that started a
the decision makers. However they will not be able to
couple of years earlier to defense the hispanic population
solve everything, as history has shown, it is possible to
in Sunset Park. The community partly succeeded. In the
bring Sunset Park on the larger political agenda on the
political system Sunset Park became an indipendent
one hand, and to unite the power and the voice of the
entity within Brooklyn that was eligable for and partici-
people. Make them aware and to raise there voice.
Working with La Union
Self analysis of La Union.
LA UNION is the community organization that we have
analyzing the investigated neighborhood.
worked with during the course of our fieldwork in Sunset
The main aim of La Union is to support immigrant families
Park. They were the main source of knowledge, which
with the struggles of retrieving legal status, and the
we received of the neighborhood. The cooperation gave
concerns due to the lack of legal recognition. One of the
insights to pressing community needs and created a
programs they support is the DREAM ACT, who tries to
deeper knowledge of the urban environment.
strive for the rights of undocumented immigrants to go to
Several studies have been conducted together with the
college or university.
community group, for example a sociogram that La Union Strong relation Good relation Normal relation Weak relation
made tried to identify their function within the neighborhood (illustrated bellow) this gave new insights of how the neighborhood is perceived for the inhabitants. The same
Conflict relation People Civiel society Power
exercise is made by the Parsons and Atlantis students (right image), in order to learn about the differences of 46 Police dep.
Com. Board 7
Barrio de Promesas
Center for Family Life
Sociogram of La Union.
Mexican business owners
Beyond Care Coop.
Neigbors Help. Neigb.
Si Se Puede Cooperat.
Mano a Mano
The 5th Av. Commitee
Occupy Sunset Park
Neighb. Of La Granja
Department of Transportation
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
47 Hamilton Waste Transfer Station
UPROSE Margarito Gas turbine
Jessika Granja Los Colibries
72nd Police Precinct Neighbors Helping Neighbors Piek Power Plant barges 1970
Sunset Park Rec Center
Brooklyn navy yard building 2 Bright farms Sunset park CSA
SIMS Recycling plant
Community Board 7 Center for Family Life Jon Kitzmiller
Lutheran Health Center P.S. 503/506: P.S. 503/506: Sanitation department waste collection/garage
Dan Barbara Jon Kitzmiller
Piek Power Plant barges 1970
Sociogram of community organizations. Owls Heads wastewater treatment plant
64th street garden Serena
Angel and his son
City-owned land Privatly-owned lots Federally-owned land
New York City and Sunset Park Waterfront development
Sunset Park is a small part of Brooklyn. This chapter of
facilities enhance the importance of Sunset Park to the
the analysis aims to frame Sunset Park in relation to rest
rest of the city.
of the city. Currently the city of New York has defined redevelopment goals of the waterfront. A number of plans have been created for Sunset Park by different 49
organisation in the city of New York. These plans reflec the importance of Sunset Park and its waterfront to the rest of New York city. The Sunset Park waterfront is now of interest as part of the larger waterfront redevelopment that is taking place in the city. The current proposed plans are aimed specificly on the industrial area and provide little relation and interest in the residential part of the neighborhood. A very significant portion of the waterfront is NYC government owned land. Due to the fact the that it is an immigrant neighborhood, a lack of official representation and available land at the waterfront, a significant amount of city infrastructure is located in sunset park. The power, waste and detention
14 South forms a vision of governmental view of Sunset Parks future (Department of City Planning, 2011)
Community Board 7 Plan 50
with greenway developed by UPROSE
Waterfront development plan. (Brooklyn Community Board 7, 2007)
The current NYC Development Plan has reaffirmed the
the communities of sunset park.
Sunset park waterfront as an industrial area. Part of the plan has been the addition of waterfront access by the
Other utopical views on the development of the waterfront
creation of the bush terminal park. In addition a greenway
only take sea rize levels into account and neglect the
(cyclingpath) provides an extra link in the citywide
specificity of the neighborhood as a working neighbor-
cyclingnetwork. An attemp was made to create links
between the waterfront and the residential part of the neighborhood. The definition of these corridors is lacking
The current development of sunset park seems to
and no initiative is taken to provide a clear relation to the
enhace the seperation between industrial and residential
opportunities that are created in the industrial area and
parts of the neighborhood. Rather then aim at a better life quality for the people in the neighborhood aims at a rapid redevelopment of the waterfront. The waterfront has the interest of the city and investors, which is lacking in the rest of the neighborhood,
The current neighborhood
plan can be seen as furthering or aiming towards gentrification. A proposal for development from the waterfront can be reversed. Having a development of the residual spaces in the city fabric to meet the needs of residents and create a more symbiotic development.
Rising Currents. (Bunge, 2012)
Combined strategies These same streets become capturing elements for water runoff to reduce combined sewage overflows and by this restoring the polluted waterways. In general we can state that in Sunset Park there is a need for a deeper more inclusive city. Therefore we propose to
Global processes and concerns are reflected back on the
new forms of production into the city, where neglected
level of the local community to tackle the disconnection
citizens can become actors within the public realm. The
from the public sphere.
The formerly thriving waterfront, which functioned as the center of public activity, has been completely disconnected from the neighborhood through the deterioration of the economic impulses. The new proposed strategies will enhance the connection between the neglected waterfront and the neighborhood. This can give an answer to the rapidly growing residential population and increasing multicultural society and their needs for jobs and dynamic public spaces for encounters and learning opportunities.
The oversized street pattern of the Sunset Park neighborhood is used as carrier of the public realm. Strategically selected streets are downgraded and remodeled as avenues for stronger public experiences and safer and greener connections towards the waterfront and within the neighborhood.
educational platforms educational platforms
clean energy production
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the legacy of post-industrial landscapes PRODUCTIVE POST-INDUSTRIAL LANDSCAPES from global to local landscapes from global trash to local trash from global problems to local opportunities stimulating local economies from global to local economies Dynamics of a post industrial landscape Growing in Urban Landscapes Urban Agriculture as an Alternative
Towards an inclusive fabric
Growing in Urban Landscapes
Urban agriculture in essence is the production of food in an urban context. In the field urban agriculture is becoming integrated with a large number of different issues and is fuelled by alternative needs of the urban dweller. The goal of the research is to explore urban agriculture as a practice that can foster a more inclusive urban fabric. The first step is to understand the context in which urban agriculture is becoming an ever growing phenomenon. The second part of the research focuses on the practices, benefits and relationship that urban agriculture can create in the city. The research is based on the experiences in New York. In a final part the potential of urban agriculture as an alternative generator of the urban fabric is explored in the neighbourhood of Sunset Park. How can urban agriculture become a practice that is embedded in a neighborhood?
The global food system
The disconnection of food and the city
were free to occupy different activities. Civic administrator was one of the occupations and historical evidence shows that these officials were completely devoted to the organization of the surrounding agriculture lands. Experts
Food is embedded in our everyday routines. As living
even argue that it was the task of organizing agriculture
creatures we need nourishment on a stable basis to
that led to the invention of writing by Sumerians. (Steel,
sustain ourselves and to remain healthy. For most people
it is relatively easy to get three square meals a day without having to concern about the growing and processing of
One of the key elements to agriculture has been land and
food. Todays’ urban dweller is only a small end part of
the question of ownership historically has shaped the
a large production gain that feeds our cities. In many
production of food. Carolyn Steel in Hugry City quotes
ways most people are only involved in a small part of
Jean-Jacques Rousseau: “The first man who, having
the food chain, namely the consumption of food. Food is
enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself saying:
historically strongly linked to the urbanized society. The
‘This is mine’, and found people simple enough to believe
majority of the world now lives in urban or semi-urban
him, was the real founder of society.”.
conditions and is no longer producing its own food. The
Originally people lived of what the land provided and
urbanized population has changed how the food that
only a small fraction of land was owned by individuals.
people needed is produced. A smaller number of people
This graduately changed as land was turned in to agri-
produce food for an expanding world population. A
culture land the vast forests of Europe disappeared. With
globalised food system now supplies cities with an ever
growing populations in medieval Europe and land as a
greater diversity of food.
crucial element of power, a debate emerged in England.
The forming of cities and civilization has been histori-
John Locke and Sir Thomas Filmer represent the two
cally strongly related to the production of food. A surplus
sides of the argument. Filmer argued for the divine right
in the production of food was what first resulted in the
of Kings to own the land, as God gave the earth to Adam,
possibility for mankind to pursue different activities and
the first monarch of men, all succeeding monarchy had a
cities to form. Uruk, a Sumerian city in Mesopotamia, is
divine right to the earth. Locke reputed this argument and
a great example of one of the earliest cities where people
in his work following the rejection of Filmer’s divine right
arguments formulates thoughts about the ownership of
Midwest of America. The building of a rail line across the
land. Locke concludes that an individual can lay claim to
mountain range in 1850 finally opened up the Midwest
land through the investment of labour. It follows that if a
to the world. The stable production of food on a large
farmer tills the land he owns the land. Locke makes one
scale and the ability to transport it, led to the liberation of
note here, that this is only true if every man only takes
cities from agricultural hinterlands. The size of a city was
what he needs. The changing of land into agriculture was
no longer limited by the food production surrounding it.
the first major shift in the way mankind provided their
(Steel, 2008, p26-27)
food and the land was used. (Steel, 2008, p26-27) Grain prices plummeting lead to a depression in Europe
The theories formulated by Locke in the late 17th century
and the surplus in feed allowed for the first time the
were applied in the colonization of America. Settlers
mass production of meat in America. The food system
considered the new world endless, the liberal ideals of
globalized for a first time, massive quantities of food
Locke were applied and even included in the Decla-
where transported from America to Europe. The scale
ration of Independence through Thomas Jefferson.
of production shifted towards mass production both in
Lockeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s theories were based on productive agriculture
Europe and America. The mass production of food led
and thus excluded the hunter-gatherer culture of Native
to an important shift in thinking about food and the city.
Americans. The development of agriculture in America
No longer was the question the possibility of feeding
and the industrial revolution led to the first disconnect of
the growing industrial cities, but the cost to do so. The
city and agriculture. The innovation of new farming tech-
question of price has resulted in innovation such as fertil-
niques and transportation by rail created a new freedom
izer and pesticides, which have led to great increases in
for cities. The American Midwest had been turned from
productivity. Technical innovation in farming tools and
prairie into agriculture land, a vast potential in grain
battery farming are also responsible for great increases in
production existed here, this land was however stil cut
productivity, yet one can ask questions about the ethical
off by the Appalachian mountains. In 1825 this new grain
and environmental consequences of these farming tech-
basket was connected to New York by the Erie Canal.
niques. (Steel, 2008, 31-35)
This made New York boom and showed the potential of a stronger connection between the east coast and the
The historical evolution of food and urbanization in Europe
and North America has undergone a crucial shift. From urban centers that were very connected to the production of food, an evolution took place to a global industrial agricultural complex that is disconnected from the city. The struggle to feed the urban centers has distanced the food production from the urban core. The industrial revolution has given us a highly efficient agriculture system and replaced agriculture in the city by industry. The last change in the food system has been a corporate takeover. The food system is now controlled by a handful of corporations that have taken monopolies on certain parts of the food chain and influence the practices and choices in the whole system. The often long supply chains that are controlled by corporate businesses, allow for disparities to exist and the negative side effects to be hidden.
The global food system creating disparities
The development of urban agriculture is embedded in the disparities that are created by a global, industrial and corporate controlled agriculture system. Urban agriculture can be viewed as a practice that reflects the injustice created by the global food system.
Distancing as a strategy
The distance between growing and consumption in a long linear production process is named as one of the 66
main reasons that allow for the unethical practices to be so present in the production of food. In many cases unhealthy practices are used to maximize production quantity and reduce costs. Large-scale production has fostered the use of chemicals in agriculture. The use of certain chemicals has been linked to increased risk of diseases such as Parkinson. The over-use of fertilizers pollutes water supplies and destroys ecosystems worldwide. One of the more famous examples concerning the effects of the global companies on the way food is produced, is the factory style production of chicken by Tyson. Tyson Foods supplies most of the chicken consumed in the USA. Tyson started as a middleman buying from local farmers and selling Mexican farm worker in lettuce field, California (C. Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Rear, 1972)
chickens. The relatively small company expanded and
many of these come from Mexico or other countries in
industrialised its activities. This resulted in chickens
South America. The wages they are paid, are sometimes
being raised in windowless spaces barely able to move
so little that they are unable to provide in their own live-
and continuously fed antibiotics. To maximize their profit,
lihood. More then 90% of the workers have no health
Tyson also capitalizes on its market monopoly through
insurance, although they are often performing hazardous
subcontracting to farmers, which are paid the minimum
labour. The situation goes as far as farm workers being
and have to comply with strict standards. The products
unable to afford to feed their families. The reason for this
Tyson Foods delivers are ready cut or processed meat
is that the farm workers are paid extremely low wages
products; one finds these in the large supermarkets and
and that the work is temporary; many workers only
fast food restaurants. Tyson supplies familiar household
find work for half the year. It is a paradox that the farm
brands such as McDonalds, Wal-Mart and many other
workers, who pick the food that we eat, are themselves
large food retailers. (Gottlieb and Joshi. 2010,p35-38)
unable to afford a nutritious diet. (Gottlieb and Joshi. 2010,p 13-17) (Gottlieb and Joshi.
Slavery in the field
The animal abuses are relatively well known and have been exposed by the media many times. However the
Globalised food politics
disparities that are created for farm workers are often
The corporate businesses that control the food system
forgotten. The farmers are being forced into contracts,
have been able to influence the policies related to food
which allow them barely to make a living. Farmers that
for a long time. As a way of economic development,
refuse to cooperate face difficulties in a food system
the United States of America have always had aggres-
controlled by large corporations. Everywhere, but espe-
sive policies supporting the export of their agricultural
cially in the USA, the agriculture system is based on
products. Companies active in national food production
the labour of cheap farm workers. Migrant workers are
have grown into large corporate businesses that dominate
exploited to the point of slavery. Seasonal farm workers
the global food market. In Food Justice, Gottlieb and
have become faceless, nameless units of production. In
Joshi point at two major factors that created the global
the USA there are over three million people employed in
flows of food and corporate control: these are the Green
agriculture. About one third of the farm workers are illegal,
Revolution and the rapid increase of export from the USA
and Europe to developing countries. The Green Revolution has influenced the nature of food production in the developing world, exporting modern techniques and the products involved such as pesticides and hybrid seeds. The American policies have made that agriculture in the whole world has industrialized, often with the excuse of raising productivity. (Gottlieb and Joshi. 2010,p 105-107)
Food and energy
In essence, food is stored energy to be consumed by people to fill their basic need for nutrition. The long supply chain and globalised food system have added another important ingredient to agriculture. The food 68
system is highly reliant on oil, to such a degree that we are investing enormous amounts of energy into the production of food. In the USA between 14-19 per cent of energy-use is consumed for food production. The use of energy has to do with both the scale of agricultural businesses as well as the distance between production and consumption. The raising of crops creates the first consumption of energy. Farmers use a range of machines to raise the productiveness of their fields. Furthermore, the size of agricultural operations require larger and more energy consuming techniques. In addition to considering the energy used by the food system, is the ability of crops to produce energy. The global need for oil puts pressure on the agriculture system; vast pieces of land are now Irrigation Fields (R. Kendrick, 2003)
changing from food production to crops for the generation of bio fuel. Crops such as sugar cane and corn are now, instead of feeding livestock for people, turned into bio fuel on extreme scales. The land allocated to corn production in the USA is constantly growing and fertile land is used for the growing of energy instead of food. (Dougherty, 2007), (Steel, 2008, p48), (Viljoen, 2005, p25), (NYC council, 2009, p6)
Access to food
As varied as the accessible food is in general in the city, this is sometimes not the case in the poorer areas of the city. Food deserts are areas of the city where there is no access to nutritious food. As supermarkets are corporate businesses that are profit driven, they often decide to quit the stores that are not generating large profits in poor areas. In addition to having a lack of supermarkets, food deserts are often characterized by having a large number of fast food restaurants. (Alkon and Agyeman, 2011, p 89)
Fastfood restaurant in Sunset Park (Authors, 2012)
Local alternative food systems
Local alternatives and urban agriculture
Alternatives to the global food system are a response to the globalisation and to the disconnect that has been created between the production of crops and the consumers of food. Mares and Pena write, “ We live in a time of neoliberal globalization and mass displacement of rural place based people who have been shoved away into what was been aptly described as a ‘Planet of Slums’ (Davis 2006). This is a world that invokes the ‘end of the local and place-based (Appadurai, 1996)” (Alkon and Agyeman, 2011, p 201)
The disparities created by the globalisation and a global food system are finding local reactions that foster a local and more sustainable city. Urban agriculture is such an alternative and is founded in local action and a collection of actions that attempt
US World War II era poster promoting Victory Gardens (Morley, 1945)
to form an alternative to the global food system that
to the community that it is embedded in it. Urban agri-
creates local disparities. The notion of urban agriculture
culture must be seen as an addition to the existing food
is rooted in environmental and social justice principles.
system that is an answer to the specific needs of the city.
One will find that there are as many motivations for prac-
Historically there have been examples of alternative ways
ticing urban agriculture as there are people engaged
of providing food in cities on a very large scale. In the
with it. The main difference between urban agriculture
USA, to counter food disparity during periods of distress,
and rural agriculture is the connection to a market of
government initiatives promoted urban food production.
consumers that is found around it and to create a benefit
The most successful examples are perhaps the Victory
Gardens during World War II: twenty million gardens
of agriculture that also foster a more inclusive society. In
produced 40 per cent of vegetables consumed during
Spain, in the village of Marinaleda, an extreme alternative
the war. During these periods, the government educated
is created to the global food system. The economics of
and assisted people in the production of food. The
the village are based on an agriculture cooperation that
Victory Gardens were key in stabilizing the national food
grows agriculture produce and a second cooperation
requirements, but apart from their food production, they
that processes the crops. These organizations are part
provided returns beyond the production of food. The US
of the municipality. The profits are used amongst them
government found that there were social and psycholog-
to create a supportive system in the village. The land
ical benefits for people involved in the gardens. (Nordahl,
that is now owned by the municipal co-ops, was previ-
ously owned by the local Duke and attained only after a long legal struggle with the national government. The
Even today one can find examples of alternative forms
local workers and villagers are now the owners of the
land around their village. The profits are used to provide
is sourced from a number of upstate farms in Schoharie
social services and affordable housing for the village.
County, to neighbourhood organizations in the Bronx and
The process of budgeting in the community happens
Harlem. The Corbin Hill Farm Share started as a project,
in open council meetings, in which every member of
which wished to revive a farm and sell the products
the community has a direct vote. Houses in Marialeda
directly in New York City. The initial demand of produce
cost far less then the average houses in Spain. New
far exceeded the production capacity of the starting farm
residents are however required to work for a long period
and so a sourcing from nearby family-owned farms was
at the construction of the townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s houses. To deter people
used to meet the demand. The companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s activity has
from taking advantage of this alternative system, there is no ownership of housing. It were the exploited agriculture workers of the village that formed the basis for this alternative model of a community. Although this example is extreme and rather difficult to replicate in a more urbanized context, it illustrates how agriculture
organized around a community can be the basis for a more inclusive city. (Terzake, 2012), (Gottlieb and Alkon, 2010, p18)
In a more urban setting like New York, examples of local initiatives can be found as well. The Corbin Hill Road Farm project is one such attempt of creating food justice by creating an alternative to the global supply chain of
Principles of Corbin Hill Farm (The Greenhorns, 2011)
food. The Corbin Hill Road Farm is a farm share initiative
to be seen as much broader then producing and selling
which aims at linking local New York farms to neighbour-
food; it has the aim of bringing food security and aims
hoods in the city that have a lack of access to healthy
at increasing the health of the target communities they
work with. In effect, the company brings together three
The initiative is set up as a for profit organization, produce
stakeholders of the food business and creates a unique
Farm workers in Marinaleda (Laura Leon, 2012)
relationship, from which benefits all parties involved. The
of food production by a small number of companies
first group is the neighbourhood partners that are used
is the case.
as distribution points, produce provided is cheaper and
tion of chickens in the USA, while Monsanto has an
of a wider variety then available in the community. This
enormous hold on the growth of crops by the distribution
has both economic and health benefits for the neigh-
of patented seeds. Corbin Hill creates an alternative to
bourhoods involved. The second group are the farmers.
corporate controlled agriculture and provides benefits for
Through the system of farm share, they get financial
all partners involved. Reducing the gap between produc-
stability and an economic future. Their incomes are
tion and consumption could be a solution to the creating
no longer depended on price fluctuations in the global
of new relations between urban and rural. (Gottlieb and
market and as a consequence the farmers can plan a
Joshi, 2010, p35) ,(Alkon and Agyeman, 2011, p315),
stable development of their business. The last group is
(NYC council, 2009, p2)
Tyson effectively controls the produc-
the investors, who were able to invest in social entrepre-
neurial enterprises, contributing to their communities,
Urban agriculture itself is more focused on the actual
while still getting a return on their investment. (Cohen, N.,
production of food in the city. Urban agriculture can
& Derryck, D., 2011)
become a driver of sustainable development for the ever-
The Corbin Hill Farm Share project is an example of the
growing urbanized territories. In the global south, food
social nature that food can play in urban neighbour-
security becomes an important issue when considering
hoods. Healthy food is key to a healthy lifestyle, although
urban agriculture. Urban food security can be seen as
an image exists of abundance in large cities, often good
the requirement and right to have access to sufficient and
food is expensive and rather difficult to obtain. Another
nutritious food to sustain a healthy life. In some contexts
element that Corbin Hill addresses is the disappearance
the issue is not so much about providing the quantity of
of small family owned farms. Smaller farms are gradually
food, but securing the accessibility of food. Urban agri-
disappearing and getting replaced by larger corporate
culture is often a way for people to become more self-
controlled farms. The distance of farms to city cores also
sufficient and gain a level of food security.
grows as urbanization spreads. In New York State the population has been steadily growing while the number
Urban agriculture is a practice that can be temporary but
of farmers has been reducing. An ever-greater control
permanent urban agriculture in Africa provides sustain-
ability and resilience against disaster. In most cases the
The benefits of urban agriculture.
reason for Urban Agriculture is not a temporary reason, but rather based on more permanent motivations.
In her research on urban agriculture in the Townships of Cape Town, Shirley Dunn summarizes the motivations for
As varied as the reasons for urban agriculture there is a
urban agriculture as:
great range of possible benefits that Urban Agriculture
• Occupation – keeping busy during the day
can bring to the city. These benefits manifest themselves
• Love of farming and family culture of farming
in different ways as every project is unique.
• Exercise and health • Interacting with others and sharing problems
• Improving the community
The social benefits of urban agriculture are best perceived
(Dunn, 2008, p3)
in the poorer neighbourhoods of the city. In these parts of a city one can often find groups striving for social justice that turn to agriculture as a tool for negating disparities. Community development can be seen as one of the important benefits in people’s quality of life. Often it provides a space for productive relaxation and interaction that would other wise be inaccessible. Often urban agriculture is a reaction to neglected pieces of land, the transformation of this land into a positive asset for the community fosters a feeling of achievement and positivism in a community.
Strange as it may sound, community gardens can even play a role in crime rates. In neighbourhoods with high crime rates community gardens have been created to
provide an alternative to drug use and criminality. Often
of communities and organisations whose leaders have
young people end up on the streets, because of a lack of
felt marginalized by white-dominated organisations and
occupation and no family structure.
communities” (Alkon and Agyeman, 2011, p159) The food justice movement and urban agriculture projects
Urban food production can play a major role in reducing
which often carry the same ideology; are in some cases
discrimination. Although urban agriculture is often seen
conscious attempts to reduce racial discrimination.
as a middleclass activity; there are many great examples
(Viljoen, 2005, p57)
of urban agriculture being used to empower people and
counteracting discrimination. Gender, race and class
discrimination is present in cities all over the world.
One of the things that can be seen as a clear advantage
Food production can be a way to express an identity;
of urban agriculture is that it focuses itself on the local
this could be through the growing of culturally significant
needs. It allows goods that might otherwise be poorly
crops. In an interview with an Mexican immigrant in New
accessible to people to become accessible.
York, Margarito stated “I really like this garden, we grow
element of this is food security, for some people nutritious
food here, it reminds me of Mexico where my grandpar-
might be unaffordable and urban agriculture provides a
ents used to have such a garden when I was young.” In
solution to obtaining a sufficient amount of food. A large
the garden in Sunset Park, a part Mexican, part Chinese
part of the economical benefit lies in the reduction of
neighbourhood in New York he had found something
costs of society that is creating by other benefits of urban
of his own country and a space where he could be
free in spite of being an illegal resident. (Interview with Margarito, 12-04-2012)
The focus of urban agriculture is also to stimulate the local economy. Urban farms provide jobs and skill training to
“Often led by people of colour, food justice organisations
local residents. In many cases the urban agriculture is
see dismantling racism as part of food security. By taking
linked to alternative forms of distribution, which often
an explicitly racial approach, the food justice moves
include systems where the cost is relative to income.
away from the colour-blind perspective … The food
In this urban agriculture provides a system that creates
justice approach aligns itself directly with the interest
viable local businesses and provides more socially just
systems. As highlighted in the case study of the Corbin
One of the Township farmers interviewed by Dunn
Hill farm earlier there is a level of social inclusion involved
describes the health benefits as such
linked to the economical benefits of urban agriculture.
“If I’m at home and I’m not feeling well, I decide to come
In her research on the social benefits of urban agricul-
to the garden. That’s where I get the exercise, then I can
ture Dunn finds that it is fascinating that all of the people
feel right. Ever since I started a garden, I don’t have a
she interviewed give away produce to people in their
problem with my life. I even encourage my community,
community on a regular basis. The products often are
saying that if they feel they are not well, they should
given to neighbours or family, but also to those who have
come to the garden. That’s where they will get well.”
the greatest need for them such as elderly and needy
(Dunn, 2008, p6),(Viljoen, 2005, p59-61)
children. (Dunn, 2008, p3),(Viljoen, 2005, p57-59)
Spaces of urban food production are often valuable green
One of the benefits of urban agriculture is that it returns
spaces. These green spaces can be ecologically valuable
knowledge about food to the city. In many cases the
step stones for urban fauna and flora. Green space in the
growing of food educates people about the seasonality
city is often linked to dealing with issues of permeable
and the origin of products. Knowledge about the variety
surfaces for dealing with water issues.
and production process can foster a healthier and more nutritious diet.
Another environmental aspect of urban food production is the ability to deal with waste in a different way. Often
Urban agriculture is an outdoor activity that requires
urban agriculture projects include the local collecting and
physical labour, which can be perceived as good for the
composting of organic materials. The local production
health. On the other hand there are also mental health
of food reduces the need for transport of goods, thus
benefits that come from actively participating in outdoor
reducing the need for energy involved in providing the
activities. In the hearth of Detroit city there is even a
food. In addition the need for packaging is reduced as
farming project that is linked to a recovery centre for
well. An increased environmental awareness is also one
homeless and alcoholics; here an urban farm is used as
of the benefits promoted by the growing of one’s own
a rehabilitation tool.
food. (Webb, 1998)
Manifestations of Urban Agriculture
Urban agriculture in New York (Urban Design Lab, 2011)
Urban agriculture in New York
production. The right crops and techniques could produce a significant amount of food and provide economically viable options.
The potential of urban food production is questionable,
New York has a range of existing productive spaces that
it will never be possible for cities to be self sufficient in
provide good examples of the benefits and potential of
their food production. Urban centers will always depend
productive urban spaces. In the city there are over a
on rural areas that produce food.
A city as densely
thousand community gardens and around 30 farming
populated as New York is therefore an interesting case to
projects that all produce food. The quantity that is
highlight what the potentials of food production in cities
produced by these spaces is very hard to determine,
could be. A recent study by the design lab of Columbia
there contribution to the city nonetheless hard to deny. A
University identified nearly 5000 acres of vacant land that
number of cases have been chosen because they illus-
has potential for farming. In New York urban agriculture
trate the links and benefits possible.
is a hot topic and as in many American cities there is a renewed interest in food production. The study states: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Urban agriculture is undergoing a renaissance due to a confluence of factors. Most importantly, it lies at the nexus of a variety of issues which are seen as critical to the ongoing sustainability and livability of our urban environments: public health, healthy food access, green space, air and water quality, economic development, and community engagement.â&#x20AC;? (Urban Designlab,2011)
The spaces identified for urban agriculture range from vacant land, both publicly and privately owned, to rooftops, which have the potential of supporting food
(Peters et al., 2008. ) (New York City Department of City Planning. 2012) (Census Bureau Current Estimates Program. 2010)
Brooklyn Grange Commercial Rooftop Farm Brooklyn Grange is named as one the largest rooftop farms in the world, 40,000 square feet of soil based urban agriculture. The farm is located in Queens on top of an office building, formerly an industrial building. Brooklyn Grange leases the rooftop for a period of ten years, the enterprise had their first growing season in 2010.
Analysis The project has a range of environmental benefits in addition to the greening of the city. The project creates a year round vegetation with winter planting and in the rest 82
of the year a diversity of plants is allowed to flourish. An interesting component of the garden is a side project of bee keeping. An active raising and promoting of bees is crucial for the pollination of plants in the city. One of the clear benefits of a rooftop farm is the retention of rain water, a part solution to the problems of the outdated sewer system in New York. Brooklyn Grange has managed to cover its operating costs in their first year of business. One of the reasons for its success could be the diversity of its activities and the direct supplying of consumers. The farm supplies a range of high-end produce directly to restaurants and has a CSA distribution to the surrounding neighborhood. The cooperation with restaurants extends into the Brooklyn Grange (Authors, 2012)
garden being rented as an event space. Another part of
could potentially support the weight of a farm. The most
the success can be found in the internship program, 10
crucial element with a rooftop farm on a commercial
students work on the farm during the summer and learn
building is the connection to the surrounding neighbor-
urban farming skills.
hood. It seems that like any urban agriculture there is a
Although providing the farm with extra help when labour
need to involve the city in the farm. Spatially and archi-
is needed most, the educating of young students is a
tecturally rooftop farms are interesting as they could
crucial contribution of the farm to the city. The knowledge
enhance the performance of a building and turn an
of urban agriculture is very limited in a city as New York
otherwise often ignored space into an asset.
and spreading of knowhow can be seen as an important task. In addition the farm gives children from local schools tours, aimed at teaching kids how food grows.
Conclusion Rooftop Farms have a great potential, old industrial
buildings have a large footprint and structures, which
Aerial view farm (Bing maps, 2012)
Red Hook Community Farm and Added Value (farm as community organization) Added Value describes itself as a non-profit organization promoting the sustainable development of Red Hook by nurturing a new generation of young leaders. A socially oriented farming project is used to empower the local youth of Red Hook. The project began in 2000 as a reaction against the lack of educational opportunities for youth in Red Hook.
Analysis Red Hook is a neighborhood in Brooklyn that is slightly cut off from the metro system. This has resulted in an 84
area, which besides a lot of empty spaces, also has a large number of green and public spaces. The farm however provides an alternative space that is safe for the youth of the neighborhood. The farm provides a crucial access to healthy food in the neighborhood. In the time the ten years they have been operating the farm has produced food, which has been sold, donated and consumed locally. Even more powerful then the revenue that is generated, is the link that the Red Hook Community farm forms between farmers and local businesses and people. Through several projects such as a farmers market, a CSA and restaurant partnerships the farm has brought both health and economic prosperity to the Red Hook neighborhood. Red Hook Community Farm (Authors, 2012)
The farm is an educational space as much as a productive space. Workshops are organized for more then a thousand students annually and continuous educational programs are provided for elementary school children. In addition to the educational values that are bestowed, the farm works with a large number of volunteers. These volunteers donate their time to the farm, but also partici-
Aerial view farm (Bing maps, 2012)
pate in neighborhood improvement. Conclusion The Red Hook Community Farm illustrates the empowerment and neighborhood development potential a productive space can have. By getting children involved in farming they are able to learn about health and food justice. The knowledge that is gained, gives the opportunity to people to be active in their neighborhood.
Youth Farming (Added Value, 2012)
Urban Meadow (community garden linked to CSA) Urban meadow is community garden located in Red Hook on the corner of one of the blocks near the harbor waterfront.
Analysis Urban Meadow provides a unique space in the neighborhood. A large part of the space is a grass field, only a small portion of the garden is productive space, hence the name of the community garden. The garden functions as a CSA distribution point, this provides members and participants with an additional 86
amount of produce on top of those that are produced in the garden. This gives the residents access to cheaper produce. The environmental and economical benefits are that Urban Meadows provides to the neighborhood are limited, the greater its power as a social space. Parks in the neighborhood surrounding the community garden are all hard surfaces. The garden is the only semi-public space with a permeable surface. In weekends the garden is a pole of activity with people gardening, having barbecues and kids playing. The garden is also the location of the neighborhood festival, the Red Hook Jazz Festival. A free festival that has been organized for the past five years and features upcoming Jazz musicians in Urban Meadow (authors, 2012)
a two day festival.
Conclusion The space that a community garden provides is neither public, nor private. Urban Meadow shows that these spaces often have the potential of hosting activities far more divers then those related to urban agriculture. Productive spaces are potential alternatives to parks and streets, spaces where activities that are not allowed in the official public realm can take place and are thus an important infrastructure for a community.
87 Musician at Red Hook Festival (Brian Harkin, 2012)
Aerial view graden (Bing maps, 2012)
Roberta’s garden (urban garden/farm with restaurant) Roberta’s is a popular restaurant in Bushwick. A few years ago, the owner decided to start growing vegetables on containers and is planters in the back of the restaurant. Roberta’s is an interesting case as it can be seen as an effect or instigator of the change that is happening in Bushwick on the edge of Williamsburg. The neighborhood has been slowly changing from industrial warehouses to lofts and now is a mix of industry and young hipsters. (Brooklyn, New York)
The environmental component of this small space is rather limited. Economically having a garden linked to a restaurant makes sense, some products are very expensive or hard to source. The growing of specific products makes economically sense. Furthermore, working with unique products gives a restaurant an edge on the competition. The way productive space could be viable in areas where food is readily accessible, is by promoting the uniqueness of the product and marketing this to a public which is prepared trying alternatives. One of the interesting things about Roberta’s is that it hosts a radio studio. The heritage network is a internet radio that is themed around food, in this way knowledge Roberta’s farm (www.robertasgrows.com, 2012)
Aerial view farm (Bing maps, 2012)
Robertaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s farm (www.robertasgrows.com, 2012)
and information surrounding food and agriculture is spread in New York city. An intern program in the garden similar to that of Brooklyn Grange both provides free labour as well as spreading knowledge.
Conclusion Chefs are always looking for fresh and unique products. In cities most restaurants rely on suppliers. The hands on approach of Robertaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, supplementing the normal acquisition of food, is interesting and provides benefits given the visitors of the restaurant. When considering urban agriculture it is important to find an embedded need in the functions a space is linked to. In this way even small residual spaces can become an asset in a network of urban food production. Restaurant party at farm (www.robertasgrows.com, 2012)
Georgia’s Place (Seed to Feed Rooftop Farm)
limited. The greening of the roof can be seen as the main
Georgia’s Place is permanent supportive housing for
as New York every piece of green space can be seen as
formerly homeless, mentally ill adults. A farm is located
environmental contribution of the farm. In a city as dense
on top of the complex located in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. A rooftop farm is linked
The Farm has a benefit for the supportive housing as a
here to the supportive housing.
space that is used for activities with residents. In addition to the benefit that the farm gives to Georgia’s Place, the
housing complex also provides a space for a local CSA.
The environmental benefits of the space can be seen as
The Crown Heights farm share uses Georgia’s place as a
Aerial view graden (Bing maps, 2012)
housing and the surrounding city. The produce produced in the rooftop farm is used to create healthy meals for the Resident gardening (David Watts, 2010)
distribution point for the vegetables that are delivered by Sang Lee Farms.
Conclusion Georgia’s place illustrates the benefits that agriculture
The rooftop farm is used to teach the residents of
can have to health. In addition it is an example of a space
Georgia’s place the art of food cultivation - from seed to
that is linked to a private institution. Gardens are often
harvest. The rooftop farm is a link between the supportive
based on volunteer work by the community, but private organizations such as healthcare facilities could benefit greatly from having a productive space.
Georgia’s place (seedstofeedrooftopfarm.tumblr.com, 2012)
Urban agriculture in Sunset Park
As in the rest New York urban agriculture is found in a number of different spaces. There are two community gardens in Sunset Park and one urban rooftop farm. The two community gardens have been around for a while and are thriving public spaces.
The Navy Yard rooftop farm has only been active since the end of spring in 2012. The farm is having its first growing season and based on the limited information available appears to be prospering. The capital for the construction of the greenroof was attained by a green infrastructure subsidy provided by the city of New York. The space is leased for a 10 year period and provides an extra income for the owner of the building.
The amount of urban agriculture projects is limited, working with the urban gardens in sunset park one can clearly see the enthusiasm and drive that the members bring to gardens and the neighborhood.
Navy Yard Farm (Brooklyn Grange, 2012)
La Granja Los Colibries (garden linked to a community organization) Started in 2010 La Granja Los Colibries is a small community garden in Sunset Park Brooklyn. The space was started by the youth group of La Union, a neighborhood organization dealing with Social Justice. La Union members wished to have a space where they could Aerial view graden (Bing maps, 2012)
educate and be educated about food justice and the effects in their neighborhood, while making a physical
Although community gardens are often rather exclusive, most gardens are gated for security reasons. A
community garden is an interactive space where both
Since the plot of the garden was previously a vacant lot
active members and occasional visitors come together.
used by drug dealers and gangs, the transformation of
Food being intertwined in our daily life a community
the garden into a community garden is significant. The
garden is an interesting space for organization that
effect of the garden spreads beyond the plot itself, a
operate in a neighborhood.
transformation of the backyards surrounding the plot has taken place. The community garden provides healthy organically grown vegetables and eggs to the members, these produce would otherwise not be affordable. Neighborhood organizations bring together people with similar necessities or visions, in the case of La Union it unites Mexicans around issues of social justice and immigration. The community garden provides a space where the organization reaches out to the entire neighborhood.
64th street community garden The 64th street community garden was created in 1999 and has since been a flourishing space. It is located on a plot of land owned by the Transportation department along the Gowanus Expressway. The garden is located in Sunset Park, an immigrant neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. The garden is a sizeable plot between the
Aerial view graden (Bing maps, 2012)
remainder of a block and the expressway, a leftover
A number of beds in the garden are reserved for school
children, kids spend time in the garden with the after-
school program of local school PS602/604. In half an street community
hour sessions students come to the garden guided by a
garden can be described as the transformation of a
John who works for the Center for Family Life and get an
polluted space into a productive garden. The plot was
experience of learning about plants and the growing of
used as a dump for car wrecks and a range of garbage.
food. In addition to the afterschool program the beacon
The garden now has a variety of vegetables grown in
program funds local youth to work in the garden and
garden beds. Apart from this the garden has a variety of
learn about issues of food justice and food growing.
trees, bushes and flowers, which contribute to the biodi-
The garden members are mostly locals living in close
versity of the city. This is particularly important if one
proximity, through the working with children a great
considers the limited green and public spaces and the
diversity of children from the wider neighborhood are
pollution in Sunset Park.
involved in the garden space. A safe place where activi-
The environmental benefit of 64
ties are provided can be seen as crucial in Sunset Park, The garden works on a non-for-profit basis, the garden
the neighborhood has greatly suffered of gang violence
doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t provide any economic benefit, except for the
and has high drop-out rates in schools.
vegetables that the members are able to grow. Some funding has been acquired by the garden, but most expenses are covered by garden members.
Conclusion A community garden linked to extra curricular activities with local schoolchildren creates a volunteer based space, which greatly contributes the surrounding city. The combination of an afterschool program and a community garden makes for a space that is very much embedded in the neighborhood and contributes mostly in social factors.
Potential spaces for urban agriculture in Sunset Park
Alternative food supply for sunset park
shorter. In the current food system only nineteen cents from every dollar spent go to the farmer. Urban agriculture reduces the cost of transportation, packaging and the overhead costs. As a result farmers receive 35.5 cents
The different case studies illustrate the great diversity in
for every dollar spent on food. Additionally urban farming
spaces of urban agriculture. There are two main types of
using local labour and distributing produce locally would
urban agriculture: the first is urban farms and the second
allow for 82.5 cents of every dollar spent to stay in the
are community gardens. Urban agriculture is a viable
community. The most benefits are realized when urban
economic activity because it manages to reduce some
farming and gardening are integrated. In this case we
of the costs embedded in the corporate food system. By
have to ask where we can position urban farming and
producing food locally the supply chain gets significantly
Pa cka Tra gin nsp g ort atio En n erg y Ad Prof ver its De tisin pre ci g
atio n Re n t (n t R Bu ep et) sin e ai Othss Ta rs er c xes ost s
current food system
1 $ spent going to the community
urban farming feeding community
Farm value 35,5¢
Value local labour 38¢ & 9¢
value staying in community 82,5
The food dollar (image based on US departmentof agriculture , 2012)
Rooftop farms total surface: 201.430 sq m Yield per sqm: 5.38 lb
Yield Rooftop farms harvest: 1.084.087 Lb revenue: 1.415.748 $
Potential Rooftop (authors, 2012)
tion Inte Re n r R est (n t sin epa et) e i Othss Ta rs er c xes ost s
Feeding people fresh vegetables for 7016 people
Livelihood for people 33 jobs on farm for local residents 8 jobs in local businesses
Pa cka Tra gin nsp g ort atio En n erg y Ad Prof ver its t De isin pre cia g
current food system
1 $ spent going to the community
Value local labour 38¢
value staying in community 82,5
Value outsourced labour 127.417 $
Re pa ver irs tisi ng En erg y
Value labour local workers
urban farming feeding community
cka Tra ging nsp or Pro t Far f m v its alu e
the potential of rooftop farms (image based on US departmentof agriculture , 2012)
Vacant land holds a great potential for urban food production. As earlier illustrated the vacant land in New York is significant. The study for the Centre for Research in Brooklyn has revealed spread out vacant plots in the fabric of Sunset Park. Many of these plots are barren and provide little to the surrounding residents or businesses.
Vacant plot (authors, 2012)
A significant number of this land is found within residential blocks and holds the potential to be community gardens. Communal green spaces could be created within the building blocks to produce fresh vegetables and fruit for the residents around the plot.
Vacant plot (authors, 2012)
Vacant plot used as carparking (authors, 2012)
The brownfield sites form the biggest potential land for urban agriculture in Sunset Park. Although the waterfront was once a thriving industrial area it has been in decline for some years now. The industrial land still holds a significant value for economic activities, but urban agriculture could be integrated in the redevelopment of these
Brownfield site 50th street (authors, 2012)
sites. The new industries that are being located in Sunset Park might not require the extensive infrastructure and immense plots that are now found at the waterfront. On the edges of the industry sites residual spaces can be found. These have a green character yet are inaccessible
and serve no purpose. Some parts of the waterfront are vulnerable to flooding, in these areas urban farming could provide an alternative use of the land. Axis site (authors, 2012)
Bush Terminal (authors, 2012)
The street infrastructure in Sunset Park, as in many parts of New York, is organised in a very strong grid. The avenues have the commercial functions and provide the connections within the city. The streets are residential
street profile with extended front gardens
and only allow unidirectional traffic. One could argue that the street infrastructure is oversized as New york has a very extensive public transport network. All the streets have double lanes even though they are unidirectional and parking space is provided at both sides of the street. The sections illustrate the potential of reducing the car oriented street sections. By reducing the amount of
green buffer on street edge
lanes and parking, green and pedestrian spaces could enrich the urban fabric. The avenues in Sunset Park each provide a different potential.
street with wide pedestrian zone
street with wide pedestrian zone
First Avenue (authors, 2012)
Second Avenue (authors, 2012)
Third Avenue (authors, 2012)
Fourth Avenue (authors, 2012)
The bus on Fifth Avenue (authors, 2012)
Seventh Avenue (authors, 2012)
Total potential of Urban agriculture in Sunset Park
research available suggests that community gardens can yield about 1.2 pounds per square feet (12.9 pounds per square meter). In practice, urban farms such as Brooklyn Grange aim for a yield of 0.5 pounds per square feet (5.4 pounds per square meter).
To consider the total potential of urban agriculture,
The average person in the United States consumes about
one should consider that the potential for urban food
154.5 pounds of fresh vegetables and 103.3 pound of
production lies mostly in the growing of vegetables. This
fresh fruit per year. Considering that some fruit and vege-
is reflected in the current practices of urban farming and
tables are more efficiently grown in warmer regions or are
gardening, where most productive spaces focus on the
less suited to be produced in the city, the need for fresh
production of vegetables. In some cases one can find
fruit and vegetables of one person is about 258 pounds
some poultry, in urban settings although this can provide
some noise and sent hindrance. In many cases the choice
If the rooftops, vacant plots, street infrastructure and
for growing vegetables also comes from lack of fresh
brownfields were to be turned into productive land, urban
and qualitative produce available at reasonable prices.
agriculture could produce a yield in Sunset park that
There is fairly little information available on the amount
provides fresh fruit and vegetables for 12,900 persons.
of produce urban gardening can provide. The limited
fresh vegetables 154.5 lb
VEG ETA B
FRUITS ND SA LE
fresh vegetables and fruit
328,5 lb processed produce
fresh vegetables and fruit (excluding patatoes and citrus)
257,8 lb fresh fruit 103,3 lb
PRODUCE per CAPITA source: Center for Family Life, “Brooklyn Neighborhood Reports 2012: Community District 7”
Rooftops to farms total surface: 201.430 sq m Yield per sq m: 5.4 lb 100% of rooftops = 1.084.087 lb Vacant land to community gardens total surface: 14.404 sq m Yield per sq m: 12.9 lb
100% of vacant land = 185.811 lb 5% of brownfields= 252.375 lb 10 % of streets = 1.805.669 lb
Brown fields to urban farm total surface: 937.859 sq m Yield per sq m: 5.4 lb
Total potential yield: 3.327.944 lb Fresh produce for
SUNSET PARK yield Street to community gardens total surface: 1.399.744 sq m Yield per sq m: 12.9 lb
113 source: Center for Family Life, “Brooklyn Neighborhood Reports 2012: Community District 7”
Urban agriculture creating inclusive spaces
goal will be reflected in every ptoductive space. Urban agriculture is a practice that seems to be able to embed itself in the residue or underused spaces and as each The design focusses itself on the itegration of agricul-
benefit has a different character so will the levels of
ture in four types of spaces. The four spaces have been
contribution to each goal. Green infrastructure develop-
derived from the analysis of potential land: vacant plots,
ment for the runoff of water will be more present when
brownfields, rooftops and street infrastructure. The trans-
considering the rooftop farms. While community gardens
formation of these spaces into productive units has the
created on vacant lots will manifest themselfs more as
aim of creating an environment with more opportunities
community spaces and giving access to healthy food.
for the local redidents of Sunset Park. The development of the different productive spaces aim s at the four major contributions described below. To a certain degree each
Bush Terminal rooftop farms
residents in Sunset Park. In addition to the transformation of rooftops, the urban farms could provide an alternative for the underutilised space surrounding the industrial warehouses. The trans-
The Bush terminal buildings hold a true potential for
formation of the spaces around the warehouse creates a
urban rooftop farming. The buildings are large industrial
connection between the neighborhood and the rooftop
warehouses with big roof surfaces and strong solid struc-
farms, integrating food production in the urban fabric of
tures. As is shown by other examples of rooftop farming,
Sunset Park. The rooftop farms are valuable educational
there are government incentives to create rooftop
spaces that allow the youth of Sunset Park to experience
farms to reduce rainwater run off. The rooftop farms
the growing of produce.
add economic value to the buildings at the waterfront, while potentially creating jobs for low skilled immigrant
A new public space
Urban agriculture is a practice that can create spaces for human interaction. In Sunset Park the street infrastructure reduction combined with the vacant lots can be fostered by the implementation of urban agriculture. Urban agriculture can stimulate a first transformation, which eventually could lead to the integration of rainwater runoff and a stronger pedestrian network. Urban gardening can be a kick-start activity that eventually draws people into street instead of cars. One of the biggest continuing spaces transformed in the proposal is 3rd avenue, which could be transformed into a connector between the waterfront and the residential part of Sunset Park. Additionally, a network of softer spaces in between the residential fabric could provide interaction space for the growing population of Sunset Park, who often have very limited outdoor and living space.
From brownfield to green infrastructure
TThe waterfront site integrates urban agriculture in a
system of rainwater runoff canals and a dyke to prevent the site from flooding. The site acts as the distribution for the axis car rental company. The site is a huge asphalt plane with a vast number of cars stored on the premises. A new recycling plant is being installed on the edge of the site and a railway line is being reinstated as a connection for both axis and the recycling plant to the city.
The site is located in the lowest part of the Sunset Park waterfront and is most vulnerable to flooding. Urban
agriculture is integrated in the site as part of the water management. Farming could take place on the edges of the drainage canals and retention lakes, as well as the dykes. Also, it could provide in the maintenance of the new water infrastructure in return for being able to grow crops on the edges of it.
Axis site and dyke
Urban agriculture an alternative production
using food production together with bicycle networks, changing public space and addressing water problematics urban agriculture addresses the needs of people and provides an alternative solution for the production of Urban food production is an emerging practice, which
a more resilient and inclusive city.
is aimed at countering the inequalities in the modern city. The global food system creates local disparities and urban food production offers possible solutions. There are environmental, economical and social benefits to be gained from productive spaces in the city. A diverse range of productive spaces could benefit the city in a variety of ways. Urban agriculture provides the possibility to generate a positive change in areas neglected by traditional development. There is a potential of a more rich urban fabric, if we can integrate urban food production into spaces and relate it to other urban problematics. The proposal has explored the possibilities of residual urban spaces, such as large rooftops, brownfield sites, vacant plots and oversized street infrastructure, as spaces were urban agriculture can be embedded. Urban agriculture is a practice that is able to take left over spaces and turns them into valuable community spaces.
By occupying the residual and abandoned spaces urban agriculture has the potential of producing more then vegetables, it starts structuring the city fabric. Urban agriculture can transform individual spaces, however by
the legacy of post-industrial landscapes PRODUCTIVE POST-INDUSTRIAL LANDSCAPES from global to local landscapes from global trash to local trash from global problems to local opportunities stimulating local economies from global to local economies Dynamics of a post industrial landscape WASTE(d)LAND Dynamics of New Social Economies
Historical Industrial Landscapes Introduction
The waterfront in 1989 a thriving waterfront (Winnick 1990)
During the booming economy of the mid-90s, increasing
the lack of other jobs within the area, has brought the
rental costs pushed garment factories more to the city
borough to get into deeper decline and impoverishment
edges and out of the Midtown garment district and (the
(Winnick 1990 p.77-82). Nowadays the neighborhood is
once comparably cheaper) Manhattan Chinatown. As
still an attractive living place for current waves of legal
a consequent, these factories began to get settled in
and illegal immigrants to the city.
Sunset Park where first and foremost the price of land
was cheaper and secondly they could have direct access
Decades ago, industrial growth brought reputation of
to the water for shipment of their goods and cargos and
economic development for the neighborhood, but along
finally the majority of the employees of the factories
with industrial development came a huge environmental
were residing in Sunset Park (Winnick 1990 p.77-82).
crisis for the entire New York city the environmental
At its peak, 300 garment factories provided occupation
impacts were evidently more severe for the inhabitants
for the local immigrant population. The area around
of the industrial harbor area (Sze, 2007). Nowadays,
the waterfront was known for its employees within the
industrial legacies have left their marks on the surrounding
industrial area (Brooklyn Community Board 7, 2007).
environment with increased levels of contaminants in
Due to the backdrop of the garment industry and the
the air, soil, sediments and aquatic systems causing
high costs to maintain manufacturing industries there has
environmental degradation and health problems.
been a decline in job opportunities, resulting in scarcity of jobs and making employees vulnerable and dependent
Recognizing these environmental burdens necessitate
to their current employers.
looking for more transformative projects and at the same time community based solutions to reflect local
Although this backdrop of the industries, during the
inhabitantsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; demands. Moreover the industrial waterfront
Great Depression and after the Second World War, and
is reconfirmed as industrial zone by the city of New York
(Department of City Planning, 2011) on the other hand, since its decline it is still struggling and searching for new economical impulses. Considering economic decline, high dependency of the poor class neighborhood workers to job-opportunities, lack of good living quality of the neighborhoods in the vicinity of the waterfront and its potentials, emerges a need to rethink/ reconsider the future of the waterfront. Now the current trend is to bring new clean industries within the area with the eye on smaller offices (Department of City Planning, 2011), which will have the tendency to attract a new wave of urbanites from Manhattan, with a new potential residential shift, which could potentially start displacing the current inhabitants of Sunset Park and result in gentrification. The waterfont has had a major importance in the past because of its strategic location. Therefore huge infrastructures were implemented in the vicinity of the waterfront (see map 1). Furthermore the map 1 is describing the current importance of Sunset Park in the bigger New York City region and its railway connection which is now left neglected. An industry in ruin (Winnick, 1990)
Map 1: REGIONAL CONTEXT
Elizabeth - Port Authority Marine Terminal
Jersey - Port Authority Marine Terminal
Red Hook Container Terminal
to allentown, pa and points west
Sunset Park New York Container Terminal
to trenton and points south
each ton of freight carried by rail produces at least 80% less carbon dioxide than if moved by road, and a small train replaces roughly 30 truck trips. (Map based on: Department of City Planning, 2011)
Significant Maritime and Industrial Areas Industrial Business Zone s Marine Container Terminal s Major roadbased transport network NYC rail proposal on existing rail NYC Freight rail proposal 0
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Environmental justice continues to be an important part of the struggle to improve and maintain a clean and healthful environment, especially for those who have traditionally lived, worked and played closest to the sources of pollution.â&#x20AC;? (Skelton et al. 2006)
Environmental Justice movement has been taken into
account as the start point of the thesis. This movement
The aforementioned issues and the potentials of
that has been active for several decades tries to coop
the waterfront site, together with the recognized
with emergent disasters of environment related issues
environmental racism in the neighborhood of the case
to the public. This is a movement that due to the status
study are the main reasons of the necessity to study the
of environmental degradation in Sunset Park has been
industrial waterfront of Sunset Park. Therefore the first
embedded in the people’s perspective on the city
research questions arise as “why poor neighborhoods
planning since UPROSE (a local environmental justice
are burdened with environmental problems?” and “how
movement) in 1964 started to strive for the rights of the
can we address these problems?”
inhabitants of the neighborhood.
The movement has passed several milestones and step
Policy makers across the United States have not slipped
stones to get to the situation of the present day. In the
the environmental concerns into cold shoes. New goals
following page there is a preview timeline of political, social
of sustainable development have been set; in New York
and economic processes along the movement course.
itself studies have been launched on how to address
Noteworthy to see how some people were deprived from
future climate change and environmental issues due to
having a clean and safe environment, which was mostly
global warming. For example the New York Vision 2020
the case for people of color and the poor. It has been
plan looks at incentives to clean up polluted waterways,
proven by several studies in the 1980s and early 1990s
cleaning up brownfields and creating waterfront parks
and by environmental justice activists that neighborhoods
(Department of City Planning, 2011). Some of these
who have less political and economic benefits have
studies have a positive contribution to environmental
been targeted to host landfills, waste transfer stations,
progress but most of them fall short including social
power plants, waste water facilities, truck depots and
equity and environmental justice (Agyeman et al. 2003).
so on. These studies fueled the idea of environmental
The new plan has minimal requirements to address
racism and its credibility. Julie Sze (2007), writer of the
the shortage of public access to the waterfront and its
book “Noxious New York” has been a tremendous help
amenities and lacks to guarantee that environmental and
to understand the importance of community groups that
public health issues will be addressed. (Angotti 2011)
strive for the rights of neighborhoods who have been
Milestones of the Environmental Justice Movement
1991 - The First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit meets in Washington, D.C., and creates the Principles of Environmental Justice.
Early 1960s - Farm workers organized by Cesar Chavez fight for workplace rights, including protection from toxic pesticides in California farm fields.
1991 - Creation of the U.S. EPA’s Office of Environmental Equity
1962 - Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring details the harmful effects of pesticides on the environment.
1992 - Environmental justice delegation takes part in U.N. Environmental Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
1964 - Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed. The law’s “Title VI” -- prohibiting use of federal funds to discriminate based on race, color and national origin -- will become an important tool in environmental justice litigation.
1992 - President-elect Bill Clinton appoints environmental justice leaders Benjamin Chavis and Robert Bullard to his transition team.
1966 - United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park (UPROSE) is founded in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, as an environmental justice and social justice community based organization.
1992 - Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Sen. Al Gore (D-TN) introduce the Environmental Justice Act of 1992 in Congress. The legislation fails to make it through the legislative process.
1970 - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established to enforce laws that protect human health and safeguard the natural environment.
1992 - The National Law Journal publishes “Unequal Environmental Protection”; study shows that communities of color receive less vigorous enforcement of environmental laws.
1971 - President’s Council on Environmental Quality acknowledges that racial discrimination negatively affects the quality of the environment for the urban poor.
1992 - The EPA releases Environmental Equity: Reducing the Risk for All Communities, one of the first far-reaching government reports on environmental justice.
1979 - EPA sued the City of New York for violations of the Clean Water Act when it allowed millions of gallons of raw sewage to flow into the Hudson River. As a result of the Clean Water Act and the Ocean Dumping Act, fourteen water pollution control plants were built to treat the city’s sewage.
1993 - West Harlem Environmental Action settles a lawsuit against the City of New York for $1.1 million and receives a promise of engineering changes to decrease air pollution impacts of the North River Sewage Treatment Plant on the adjacent West Harlem community.
1983 - Congress’s General Accounting Office finds that three-fourths of the hazardous waste disposal sites in eight southeastern states are in poor and African-American communities. 1984 - California Waste Management Board report advises governments and companies looking to site hazardous waste facilities to target small, low-income and rural communities with a high percentage of people who are old or have little education. (Los Angeles Times breaks the story to the public in 1988.) 1990 - Robert Bullard’s book, Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality, underscores importance of race as a factor in siting unwanted toxics-producing facilities. 1990 - Several environmental justice leaders co-sign a widely publicized letter to the “Big 10” environmental groups accusing them of racial bias in policy development and hiring.
(Sources used: Skelton et al. 2006, Sze 2007, uprose.org, 2012)
1993 - The documentary Toxic Racism is broadcast on television. 1994 - President Bill Clinton signs Executive Order 12898 directing federal agencies to identify and address disproportionately high adverse health and environmental effects of their policies or programs on low-income people and people of color. 2001 - U.N. Commission on Human Rights lists living free of pollution as a basic human right. 2001 – The Fresh Kills landfill site located in New York City was closed due to local pressure supported by United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2005 - At the request of Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-CA), the General Accounting Office releases a report finding that the EPA generally devoted little attention to environmental justice issues while drafting three significant clean air rules on gasoline, diesel and ozone between fiscal years 2000 and 2004.
Environmental Justice & Sunset Park
â&#x20AC;&#x153;The market should be treated as a social institution, not as an objective entity; valuebased political processes define goals, not global markets; economic activity is not an end in itselfâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; it is valued only insofar as it contributes to the politically adopted goals of societyâ&#x20AC;? (Levett 1997).
Powerplant. (Van Mierlo, 2011)
The link between economic decline and environmental
treatment plants, solid waste transfer stations and power
and air pollution, causing health and social stigmas has
plants were systematically dumped into low-income
been recognized by environmental justice activists within
immigrant neighborhoods, contributing to the health
Sunset Park and boroughs with similar problems. As the
risks in the neighborhoods (MAP 2).
risks of air and soil pollution became transparent within
According to a publication made in an Associates Report
the communities, residents started to mobilize a force
for the California Waste Management Board (GIRDNER
against the existing stigmas. Especially when asthma and
2002) the prefect siting of waste disposal facilities were
cancer rates were recognized to be higher in boroughs
in low-income rural areas where population consisted
with higher air and environment pollution.
of elderly people and people with high school or less education and with less than 25.000 inhabitants. Poor
The asthma concerns became an extra pressure on the
planning decisions contributed to the environmental
scar that Sunset Park already had since Robert Moses
racism that has been thriving through New York City, with
decided to build the Gowanus Expressway right through
Sunset Park as the vivid image of these trends, focusing
the community district destroying all the houses and
on people with low political voice.
businesses at 3rd avenue (Sze, 2007). Along with the expressway and as a result of privatization of solid waste
The first incentive for organizing around environmental
management and energy deregulation New Yorkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s poor
justice in Sunset Park came from the Latin American
communities became a focal point for everything that
community, which was settled the closest to the
did not fit into Manhattanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s NIMBY policies. Sewage
waterfront. The community group UPROSE, founded in
1964 started campaigns against the unjust solid waste
change and mobilize environmental, political and social
and energy policies. It was in fact not the facilities
resources. The Community Board 197A committee was
themselves that were the problem, but the higher asthma
a key institutional player in developing the Sunset Park
rates than other neighborhoods, especially childhood
Waterfront Development Principles. (Laufer, 2012) To
asthma and other health effects were the key concerns,
better understand the New York City policies towards
which triggered the need for organizing. (SZE J., 2007)
environmental racism, a spatial map of polluting facilities
Children of color in low-income neighborhoods were the
is made, such as waste transfer station, marine transfer
ones who tended to have increased asthma rates around
station, waste water treatment plants and power plants.
1998 (Centers for Disease Control 2000).
The location of the facilities had been chosen in relation to the poor income neighborhoods. (Map 1)
Nowadays UPROSE is working together with Community
Board 71 on a plan to meet the communities needs. As a
industrialization with the excuse of waterfront as the only
team they are trying to negotiate redevelopment, urban
sufficient space available for the mentioned facilities (Sze,
1 As we talked to Community board (CB) 7 it became clear that they were trying to identify community needs, which could become part of the Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s budget process. The CBs are working with government agencies to improve the local delivery of services. Community Boards In New York City only have an advisory role (this was stressed clearly by Jeremy Laufer of CB7) in dealing with land use and zoning matters. (Laufer, 2012)
2007). But the actual reason these neighborhoods were targeted to accommodate the facilities was due to their low resistance as an outcome of lack of political support. In the Sunset Park neighborhood very few (the ones who had legal status) had the right to vote. (Laufer, 2012)
Distribution of Low-Income Population by Census Tract in 2000 0% - 24% 24.1% - 42% 42.1% - 61% 61.1% - 100% Note: Low-income population is defined as the percentage of individuals that reported an income below 200% of the poverty level in each census tract.
Map 2: Polluting facilities related to poor income neighborhoods
Power Plants Peak Power Plants Waste Water Treatment Plants Marine Transfer Station Waste Transfer Stations Truck Gathering Points Recycling centra
(Map based on: habitatmap.org 2012; NYC Department of Sanitation, 2012; Sze, 2007)
Big and small-scale polluting manufacturing and industrial businesses. Very clearly illustrated is the Robert Moses expressway that spatially disconnects the neighborhood from the waterfront.
Air Pollutant Facilities
Toxic Release Facilities 1
Former Brooklyn Army Terminal Power Plant brownfields
Industrial / manufacturing buildings Marine Transfer Station Waste Transfer Station
Map 3: Polluting facilities in relation to neighborhood (Map based on: habitatmap.org, 2012)
Waste Water Treatment Plant Peak Power Plant
Combined Sewer Overflow outfall
Gowanus power plant: Natural Gas/Kerosine/No.2 Fuel Oil 559 MWatt on 4 barges property of US Power Generating Company LLC Opened in 1971 16 Units dual-fueled natural gas and No. 2 oil 16 Units No.2 oil Peaking plant
Areal image of powerplant (Google earth, 2012)
Narrows power plant: Natural Gas/Kerosine/No.2 Fuel Oil 276 MWatt property of US Power Generating Company LLC opened in 1972 16 Units Peaking Plant
Areal image of powerplant (Google earth, 2012)
New York Power Authority power plant: Natural Gas 79 Mwatt 2 power turbines property of New York Power Authority Opened in 2001 Peaking plant
By energy deregulation a free market has been set up to provide choice for the consumers and to generate lower energy prices. Because of this deregulation less control was taken by NYC government to prevent the siting of polluting facilities (SZE, 2007). In Sunset Park three power plants are located which all are peak plants; means that they only function for a few hours a day. Together they provide approximately 900 MW of electricity per day, 7% of the Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s peak demand. (NYPA, 2003) The New York City government owns only one of the power plants and the other two are private energy providers. To compare the electricity demands of the Sunset Park residents the US Census Bureau data (2010) has made an estimation
for the average usage. This data is only rough estimations since USPowerGen does not publish real data. An estimation would be that, for a conservative average energy use per household, a minimum average load of approximately 50 MW is used by residents in Sunset Park for domestic use. According to UNYISOs estimates, residential electricity use makes up approximately 40% of total use of power in Sunset Park and the commercial and industrial use the other 60%. Sunset Park is likely to consume on average of over 125 MW per day, this could be expected to be more in the summer on peak demand days. (Astoria Generating Company, 2008)
Areal image of powerplant (Google earth, 2012)
The water treatment plant has been operating since 1952. During the entire treatment course, wastewater undergoes five major processes: preliminary treatment, primary treatment, secondary treatment, disinfection
Owlâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Head Wastewater Treatment Plant: treats 120 million gallons of wastewater per day serves 758,007 inhabitants
and finally, sludge treatment. Primary and secondary treatments remove about 85% to 95% of pollutants from the wastewater before the treated wastewater is disinfected and discharged into local waterways (NYCDEP, 2012). Sludge, the byproduct of the treatment process, is digested for stabilization and is then dewatered for easier handling. Afterwards the resulting material send to landfills as a daily cover against waste related diseases and coverage of the dumped wastes to prevent odor and fire.
Owls head waste water treatment plant and its water shed
Above: waste water shed (habitatmap.org, 2012) Right: Areal image of Owls Head (Google earth, 2012)
Environmental justice in an age of garbage
Peggy Lee, Youth Justice Coordinator, UPROSE, and inhabitant of Sunset Park: “the little things really matter, a lot of people don’t know where their trash goes, ‘it goes somewhere’ but somewhere isn’t a place, it actually goes to a landfill and it takes up space where it affects neighboring communities in their quality of life.” (UPROSE.org, 2012)
Before we can enter to understand the pressing concerns around garbage handling in New York City at the current state today, a brief history should explain the current trends of waste disposal (see next page).
Politics of Garbage 1885 - Building of the first permanent garbage incinerator in the United States on Governors Island 1849 to 1918 - Barren Island in Jamaica Bay was New York City’s primary waste processing site. 1894 - Mayor Thomas Gilroy set up a committee to make recommendations on the latest and most scientific principles of waste management. The committee’s final recommendations called for an end to ocean dumping of garbage and expressed a preference for reduction over incineration.
well as the changing negative perceptions of smoke, incinerators in the United States plummeted from a high of 300 to a low of 67. Also the EPA, promoted solid waste incineration as a means of energy self-sufficiency in the context of the oil crisis. 1980s - emerging of environmental justice campaigns 1986 - Rhode Island enacts the nation’s first statewide mandatory recycling law. 1986 - Fresh Kills, in Staten Island, New York, becomes the largest landfill in the world.
1905 - New York City begins using a garbage incinerator to generate electricity to light the Williamsburg Bridge.
1987 - The Mobro, a Long Island garbage barge, is turned away by six states and three countries. The garbage (mostly paper) is finally incinerated in Brooklyn and the ash buried in a landfill near Islip.
1909 - 102 of 180 incinerators built since 1885 are abandoned or dismantled. Many had been inadequately built or run. Also, America’s abundant land and widely spaced population made dumping garbage cheaper and more practical.
1988 - The EPA estimates that more than 14,000 landfills have closed since 1978, more than 70% of those operating at that time. The landfills were full, unsafe, or the owners declined to adhere to new standards.
1918 – Garbage dumping in oceans starts again 1920s - During this decade, “reclaiming” or filling in wetlands near cities with garbage, ash, and dirt, becomes a popular disposal method. 1932 - The development of compactor garbage trucks increases vehicle capacity. 1934 - New Jersey successfully sued New York for its garbage dumping in the ocean 1938 - Under the tenure of Sanitation Commissioner William Carey from 1938 to 1940, landfills became the most favored method of disposal. 1947 - Robert Moses opens Fresh Kills pledging that it would be only for three years. After the building of incinerators it would close. This was the start of landfill garbage handling in New York. 1948 - The board of estimate approved an ambitious $44 million construction program for five new incinerators, and to upgrade existing disposal facilities 1958 - the city assumed operations of all private dumps as part of a larger restructuring of solid waste management in response to complaints of extortion by private carters from businesses and buildings throughout the city 1979 - due to expensive labor and fuel, and abundant land for landfills, as
1989 - EPA issues “An Agenda for Action,” calling for an integrated solid waste management approach to solving solid waste problems, with waste prevention and recycling as its first two priorities. 1990s - the city’s commercial waste is monopolized by mob cartels, leading to sky-high garbage collection prices 1996 - Mayor Giuliani enacted a law creating the Trade Waste Commission, in order to bring the power over the commercial waste down to big powerful trash corporations (WMI and BFI). These corporations continued charging predatory prices. 1997 - WMI, BFI and USA had build up sufficient regional transfer stations in order to shut Fresh Kills down 2001 - The Business Integrity Commission agency was founded as the Organized Crime Control Commission; they should define crime activities and give recommendations to aid law enforcement. 2001 - Closing of Fresh Kills landfill; this was made possible by garbage national’s taking over the waste disposal and finished the tradition of handling waste internally. Instead garbage should be brought by trucks to waste transfer stations and later be trucked to outerstate landfills. 2006 - the council approved a Solid Waste Management Plan that redirects the city’s waste to local transfer stations, while relying on railcars or barges to transport it to landfills outside the city.
(Sources: Life after Fresh Kills 2001; Sze 2007; The Rotten Truth 1998; Girdner et Al. 2002; Rogers 2008)
As we can see New York City has a long history and
at their facilities. For Sunset Park the waste is collected
struggle with its waste disposal, ranged from incinerating
by the New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and
garbage to dumping it into landfills, disposal within
brought to IESI NY Corporate, after garbage processing
the city, and now, as a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;solutionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, the waste is shipped
the residues are brought by trucks to the marine transfer
out at marine transfer stations, to be shipped to outer
station that ships the garbage out to Pennsylvania, New
state landfills by barge. As illustrated in map 1 the
Jersey and other interstate landfills. As a consequent of
truck transfer stations and marine transfer stations are
this procedure, every year over 250.000 trips are made
located in several neighborhoods with a low-income
by hauling trucks with polluting diesel engines through
population, the neighborhoods existing in manufacturing
the streets of New York City. Another 250.000 trips are
zones along the waterfronts. In map 3 an attempt was
made to transfer garbage to outer state (NYC EJA 2010).
made to illustrate the relation between the locations of
Waste in New York City is separated into five different
the transfer stations, the truck hauling routes and the
Sunset Park Neighborhood. The black dots are the waste
commercial waste, pedestrian litter, and construction
transfer stations, which collect the garbage and sort it
waste (see NYC waste stream). The DSNY collects
EXISTING WASTE CYCLE New York City waste stream Residential & Institutional (12,000 tpd)
Commercial (13,000 tpd)
New Jersey (1,500 tpd)
DSNY (12,000 tpd)
Private Carters (38,000 tpd)
Pennsylvania (9,000 tpd)
Transfer stations (50,000 tpd)
Other Interstate Landfills (35,500 tpd)
= $ 300 million/year
Construction & Demolition (25,000 tpd)
(Diagram based on: NYC Department of Sanitation, 2012)
9.900 tons of waste per day of putrescible trash-food scraps, dirty paper, and recyclable containers- from the commercial sector
Commercial food waste generators Restaurants Supermarkets, Grocery Stores and Convenience Stores Food Wholesales Public Schools
Now these pay money to dodgy companies to collect the waste,
Map 4: Garbage distribution and waste sheds
Waste Transfer Station IESI NY Corp gathers the garbage of community districts 7 and 10, brought by DSNY
CD 7 CD 10 Waste shed for transfer stations Sunset Park Waste shed for marine transfer station Major waste transport routes Marine transfer station Waste transfer stations Truck gathering points
(Map based on: habitatmap.org, 2012; NYC Department of Sanitation, 2012)
residential waste as well as pedestrian litter. Pedestrian
Not only the pricing of waste disposal is a concern for
litter is first pilled on the corners of the streets in Sunset
businesses, also on the larger scale, for New York City,
Park by the Business Improvement District (BID) and
disposal prices can be quite a burden. Since the closure
later picked up by DSNY.
of the Fresh Kills landfill, the prices jumped from $40 to $105 per ton of refuse for the DSNY. These expenses
Another story is the commercial and construction waste,
include fees charged by outer state dumps and the
which is collected by private charters. Businesses have
long haul trips by diesel engine trucks. Since the main
to hire a private charter themselves to get rid of their
waste disposal method became disposal in outer state
refuse. As we can see from the timeline they have not
landfills, annual exportation of New York City’s waste to
been uncontested in the past decades and businesses
other communities has an average cost of $300 million
are left with a legacy of fluctuating garbage disposal
(Life after Fresh Kills 2001). Other costs that are directly
prices. (Rogers 2008) Nowadays the Business Integrity
related but not included in annual calculations are those
Commission keeps the approximately 1.500 private
of environmental restoration after the whole process of
charters in line, the BICs mandate is to abolish organized
crime and corruption by the industries it regulates. The private charters are now strictly prohibited to charge
All in all, it can be concluded by questioning “if all these
more than the maximum rates given by the BIC which
costs of exporting the waste and environmental recovery
is per 100 pounds ($10.42) or per cubic yard ($15.89) of
are just postponing a pressing problem of handling waste
loose refuse (NYC BIC, 2012), it is up to the business to
on site. Does exporting waste not give the illusion that
decide if it prefers to pay per pound or per cubic yard. In
when something is thrown away, you don’t have to face it
this way private charters are not in favor of hauling food
anymore? And if we do not think about the consequences
waste because of its lack of profitability, since food waste
of waste disposal, how can we give incentives to create
is much heavier than normal waste (VAN OOYEN 2004).
The expenses to hire a private charter can be a heavy weight on small businesses shoulders, which sometimes
To start answering these questions, a dissection is made
end up in illegal dumping.
from New York City’s waste composition. The next page is giving a scheme of what New York City’s curbside
Regional Organic Waste Regional organic waste
Designated for recycling 36,83%
Other 29,4% 157
Paper and cardboard 15,04%
Current recycled materials:
Glass containers 2,4% Metal 4,07%
NYC Recycled materials %
Plastic botttles and jugs 1,48%
Beverage cartons 0,4%
Other plastics 13,44%
Other materials 15,13%
Construction & demolishing Debris 6,29%
Textiles and carpets 7,01%
Electronics (e-waste) 0,7%
Household hazardous waste 0,27% Food scraps 21,42% Yard trimmings 5,15% Compostable, nonrecyclable paper 7,2%
Potential recyclable materials
(Diagrams based on: NYC Department of Sanitation, 2012, The City of New York, 2012)
Mixed broken glass Non-designated materials
waste is containing and what the opportunities are.
stations, by trucks. Causing not only a local environmental
According to New York waste management policies, it
distress but also environmental degradation at outer
is only require to recycle a limited amount of waste and
state landfills. Diverting this waste from landfills could
33% of organic materials, which can be easily recycled,
financially benefit the city saving $24 million, distress
Regional Commercial Waste are not recovered. After paper (which is recovered) and
landfills and reduce truck traffic in communities that are
yard waste (not recovered) food waste causes the largest
already overburdened with waste facilities. New Yorkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s
waste stream in the United States, which 97 % of it ends
new incentive is transferring their waste by barge, but is
up in landfills or gets processed by incinerators (AHMED
this enough to tackle all the waste concerns?
et al. 2011). If we assume (as before calculated), the
putrescible waste tpd is daily being easily calculate that 4.000 tons9.889 of waste daily amount of residential waste is 12.000 tons, we can
transferred from waste transfer and marine transfer
non-putrescible waste Regionalcommercial Commercial Waste Regional 27.695 tpdWaste
putrescible waste 9.889 tpd non-putrescible waste 27.695 tpd
19% = 1878,91 tpd
A similar calculation can be made out of the content of commercial waste, which mainly exists of putrescible and nonputrescible waste. Non-putrescible does not contain organic matter that has a tendency to decompose as for putrescible waste does contain organic matter and for that can be seen as organic recyclable waste. Diverting this waste from landfills can reduce another $59 million from the cities tax money (AHMED Manhattan 42% et al. 2011). Brooklyn
(Diagram based on: Ahmed et al. 2011)
19% = 1878,91 tpd
Garbage mountain in east 16th street Manhattan. (authors 2012)
What to do with all this waste? Learning from other cases
Solid waste reduction is one of the major concerns of the
Leuven in Belgium, which is the context of the author of
environmental justice movement. It can help to address
this part of the thesis. The process of disposal of organic
the ecological footprint of New York City and the goal of
waste in Leuven starts with separating the organic waste
reducing waste generation. But this has to be carefully
and afterwards composting it. In the other two case
planned and environmental and economical benefits
studies the organic waste is disposed by anaerobic
should be shared equally over the five boroughs. In other
digestion and afterwards via waste-to-energy plants,
words the waste disposal should be done according to
biogas is extracted from the waste. The case study
community outreach and public participation in land use
in Oakland has a particular interest because of its co-
decisions (Agyeman et al. 2003).
digestion with sludge extracted from treating wastewater.
So what to do and where to go with all this waste?
The third case only uses only organic waste as feedstock
To answer such questions, it is interesting to look at how
for extracting biogas.
organic waste is handled in other counties. Therefore three case studies are considered to illustrate how different municipalities try to tackle with their waste mountains. The first case study is taken in the city of
Case Study 1: Ecowerf in Leuven
The compost installation at EcoWerf was created in 1996, and is operated by 10 people. It has an annual production of 47.000 tons of compost per year, which generates around 68.000 euro in sales. The compost production process contains three steps: the pre-process sorting of waste, the fermentation process, and the post-process completion. During the fermentation process, which takes around 5 weeks, the waste is stored in the compost hall at 55Â°C. This temperature gives it the ideal circumstances for air supply and draining the humidity. A special machine continually mixes through the materials during the
fermentation process and the used air is cleaned with biological scent filters. After the first five weeks, the newly produced compost is transported to the post-processing hall where it is filtered. The finer the material the better the quality product. In post production, the compost remains for another five weeks, for another fermentation process. After this process, the compost is sold for garden surface Municipalities Served: East Brabant
Feedstock: Municipal Organic waste Capacity: 47.000 ton per year
The total process from municipal organic waste to fertilizer takes 10 weeks and from every ton of waste Areal image. (Google Earth 2012)
coming in EcoWerf can make 300kg of compost. The byproduct of EcoWerf product has a good quality and even has obtained a quality label due to its efforts on quality in both the product and the production process. They continually strive to improve results on smell nuisance, working along with people in the neighborhood, who report about a possible smell. The biological air filtering embraces all of the space where the organic waste and the compost are processed. Other efforts to reduce the smell are special entrance ports for the waste transportation, and the organic waste is kept inside during the whole fermentation process. This has resulted in a strong diminution of air nuisance during the
last years. The EcoWerf has a wide range of programs stimulating education about composting and is working together
Soil proccessing, composting hall and end product. (www.ecowerf.be, 2012)
with schools to start up composting programs. Children can get guided tours as well at the site to learn about
To conclude we can say that it is very interesting to see
the process used in EcoWerf. At the site itself other
that recycling organic waste can create a byproduct,
recyclables are processed and adjacent there is a
which can turn waste in an economical value.
container park to bring recyclables that do not fit in
(source used for case study; www.ecowerf.be, 2012)
normal recycle bags. The facility has a size of 108 by 56 meters and a height of 11 meters.
Case Study 2: Oakland East Bay Municipal Utility Wastewater Treatment Plant
Oakland East Bay Municipal Utility Wastewater Treatment Plant (EBMUD) EBMUD is basically a wastewater treatment facility in Oakland, CA. that processes food waste together with the bio-solids from the wastewater treatment. After some additional grinding to form slurry, it is added to the anaerobic sludge digesters. The process of co-digestion of the organic waste and the motioned bio-solids is performed in reactors. The digesters reduce the volume of food scraps by 90% in two weeks of digesting so only 10 percent has to be sent to the landfills. Since the food waste and sluge are
co-digestered, the leftovers cannot be considered as clean organic compost. Therefore it is taken to landfills to control waste source diseases, fire and odor (Arsova 2010). In 2008, the facility processed 90 metric tons/day of food waste five days a week, i.e. about 22,000 tons/yr (Neves et al. 2007). In order to generate electricity, the extracted gas is pumped to a power station on site with Municipalities Served: San Francisco & Oakland
three combustion engines that each produces 2.2 Mega
Feedstock: Commercial collected food scraps
Watts of electricity. Roughly calculated it would provide
Capacity: 40 tpd
enough power for 1.400 homes per day.
Digesters used: 6 Areal image. (Google Earth 2012)
The intension of the facility is to upgrade the power being produced with a new turbine which will produce 4MW of electricity and will almost double the amount of electricity being produced enabling to send extra energy into the power grid (Arsova 2010).
Digester. (Kerr, 2010)
Process of food waste in anaerobic digesters. (Kerr, 2010)
Case Study 3: Ecopark 2 - Montcada i Reixac
The Ecopark 2 - Montcada i Reixac is located in the Industrial zone of the town of Can Salvatella Andis, 9.5 miles away from the center of the city of Barcelona. This mechanical and biological treatment plant started operating in 2003 and has both, anaerobic digestion and aerobic composting facilities. Total installed capacity on the plant is 240.000 t/year of organic waste, which half of this amount is the capacity in the anaerobic digestion reactors. The treatment begins with mechanical pretreatment to recover of the recyclables (glass, paper, packaging, etc) and source separated organics (SSO) followed by anaerobic digestion and aerobic composting. Refused
material from pretreatment lines is pressed, packed and sent for disposal on a controlled sanitary landfill. Three anaerobic digesters are installed on the site, each with capacity of 4500 m3. The anaerobic digestion reactor is operated on mesophilic temperature of 35.C and retention time of 25 days. The input material is a mixture of the digested material from the reactor (25%), fresh organic material (50-60 %) and water. Municipalities Served: Montcada i Reixac Feedstock: Commercial collected food scraps Capacity: 240.000 t/year
The produced biogas is collected from the anaerobic digestion reactors There are four generators, each with capacity of 1 MW, for utilization of the biogas and Areal image. (Google Earth 2012)
production of electricity and steam. The steam is used for heating of the anaerobic digestion reactors and the electricity is used on the site (59%) and the rest (41%) is sold to the grid. In total 20.2 GWh of electricity was produced in 2008. The digested sludge coming out of the digesters undergoes a dehydration process. The resultant solid material is mixed in 3:1 ration with green waste and then treated for 2 weeks in composting tunnels.
ct or le ga 5
po w er
ag ne st er
humidity, air and temperature and monitored for 3 weeks.
In this treatment the material is kept under controlled
er at io
ra to r
Digester and gas collector. (www.amb.cat, 2012)
After this period it is disinfected on temperature of 65ยบC
compost produced is distributed for free and no profits1
s el al
in st po 9
One of the interesting aspects of this plant is that the final
an tr em
the maturing period the material is refined.
and kept for maturation additional 4 weeks. At the end of
4 5 6
are received out of it. (Sources used for casestudy: Arsova L., 2010; www.amb.cat, 2012)
Waste digestion and composting process (www.amb.cat, 2012)
New Economical Impuls
from waste burden to waste opportunity
Recycling collection point in Sunset Park. (authors 2012)
The City of New York 2012: â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the longer term, the best hope for increased organic waste recycling in NYC lies in the ongoing development of mixed waste (or MSW) composting and anaerobic digestion.â&#x20AC;?
Food comprises a large part of NYC’s waste stream. By
as the wastewater treatment plant in Sunset Park, where
sending it to the landfill it contributes to NYC’s disposal
the co-digestion of sludge and organic waste can provide
costs and greenhouse gas emissions, while if it gets
more power. (Edelmann et al. 2000)
composted, organic waste becomes a useful product that adds nutrients and improves the quality of soil.
Anaerobic digestion of organic waste gives three end
products, including clean power, heat and a marketable product. Because of the need for renewable resources
But the complexities should not be underestimated.
to replace fossil fuels and due to climate change, the
As Bélanger (2007) describes, “The complexity of
first two by products are of major importance for the
recycling and remediation is magnified at the urban
neighborhood, which is saturated with three polluting
scale, especially when it involves an ecology of multiple
power plants. The proposed alternative of digestion of
industries and multiple waste streams.“ Multilateral
food waste and sludge generates hydrogen, which is
strategies, such as waste diversion, separation, recycling,
considered as a sustainable energy source with minimal,
composting and remanufacturing, are proving effective
or zero use of hydrocarbons and high-energy yield (2.75
as durable alternatives to conventional systems of waste
times more than fossil fuel), which makes it a promising
management that previously relied on consolidated
alternative to fossil fuels. In addition, hydrogen can be
forms of disposal.(Bélanger 2007)
directly used to produce electricity. “If we stop wasting food, the CO2 impact would be the
Reflecting this back to the case studies we can learn that
equivalent of taking one in four cars off the road. This will
waste can be an economical asset in local development,
prevent emission of 15 million tonnes of CO2.” (WRAP,
contributing to work opportunities (Agyeman et al. 2003).
Synergies can be created between existing facilities such
In order to create a new form of solid waste management without
it is important to answer to one of the most stressing factors that environmental justice groups bring to the foregroung, â&#x20AC;&#x153;borough equityâ&#x20AC;? (Sze, 2007). The need for rethinking about waste disposal facilities, water pollution control plants and energy demands, has to be brought together with the fact that each borough carries its own responsibility. Therefore, starting from borough equity, only Brooklyn is taken into account for the estimation of potential outcomes. The outcomes are described in the diagram of the next page.
Dynamics of New Social Economies
energy reducting its volume by 90% and enabling to compost the left overs The proposed site is a 42 acre terrain a 24 acres terrain would be able to take all the organic waste Brooklyn produces and convert it into undigested compost on site. Placing 14 digesters extra on site would be able to reduce 10% of Brooklyns organic waste. this would provide 93MW/day which would provide energy for 19.600 homes/day which is half of Sunset Parks households
Benefits calculations Organic Waste Ton per week
Power produced out of hydrogen
423 MW/Week 6x
9025 MW/Week 6.000 TPW
1430 MW/Week 932 TPW
(content based on: Arsova, 2010; Astoria Generating Company, 2008; Center for the Study of Brooklyn, 2012; Kim et al. 2004)
e to take ted
Amount of solid waste produced per week per borough 9.032 TPW
fertilizer: 10% waste is left over at 7 dollar per ton
4,66 TPW = $ 33 10.431 TPW
30,7 TPW = $ 215 16.021 TPW
173 18.100 TPW 33% = 6.000 TPW organic waste 600 TPW = $ 4200
Power demands: 875MW per week
33% = 307 TPW organic waste 40% residential 60% commericial and industrial
93,2 TPW = $ 652 = $ 238.126 per year
Supermarket in Sunset Park. (authors 2012)
Map 5: Local businesses
Local businesses and public facilities able to provide commercial food waste. (Map based on: Brooklyn Community Board 7, 2007)
Brooklyn Wholesale Meat Market commercial/office buildings public facilities and institutions mixed residential and commercial buildings
Brownfields at the Sunset Park waterfront. (authors 2012)
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Brownfield Opputunity Areas (BOA) was crafted as a tool to enable low-income communities burdened with multiple brownfield sites, high incidence of disease, and unemployment, to identify and implement alternatives to noxious uses as the primary future for reclaimed brownfield sites.â&#x20AC;? (KASS et al. 2011)
Industrial decay. (authors 2012)
There are numerous brownfield1 sites in New York City,
as part of the 2003 Brownfields Law, these are generous
former thriving industrial sites that are now left neglected
refundable tax credits that are awarded based on
and underused. A majority of them are located within
specified categories of costs involved in remediating
low-income communities of color such as Sunset Park.
and redeveloping a brownfield site. According to NPCR
These brownfields are much contested because of their
these BTCs have been controversial since the beginning.
potential to be effective on future economic growth, social
As most of the subsidies have been pumped to projects
revitalization and the public health of the surrounding
located in prime or promising locations, there is no
neighborhoods. At the same time the definition of such
agreement as to how many of the properties that have
brownfields for these neighborhoods are abandoned
been cleaned up required the motivation for development
industrial spaces and disinvestment for their depraved
to happen. (NPCR, 2012)
environment. However we have to be careful with proposing
Community actors see these spaces as opportunities to
brownfield redevelopment because of its potential to
meet their pressing community needs such as affordable
lead to gentrification. Several concerns have to be taken
housing, good jobs, facilities for the community and
into account. When brownfield revitalization brings in
education, waterfront accessibility and as confirmed in
now job opportunities, neighboring communities are
the analysis of Sunset Park, open space (Tylke 2012).
less vulnerable to displacement (EPA, 2012). Therefore
For the past nine years, New York State’s brownfield
community organizations can be involved to mediate
cleanup program has relied primarily on one type of
between the neighborhood residents to bring in local
incentive, Brownfield Tax Credits (BTCs), to encourage
resources. They can provide job training for the new
private investment in brownfield redevelopment. Created
economical impulses and brownfield remediation.
The term brownfield site means ‘‘real property for which the expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant’’ (U.S. Congress, 1980). Brownfield sites are generally abandoned or under-utilized old industrial and/or commercial facilities, and can be major eyesores and/ or health hazards for residents of the communities in which they are located. Source: ADELAJA ET AL. 2010
Economic benefits for the community should be considered, the organic waste recycling can not only provide job opportunities on site, local businesses can bring their organic waste and save money on paying private charters to collect the waste. Site of the DSNY waste transfer station. (authors 2012)
Soil, groundwater and sediment at and underneath the Sunset Park industrial zone became contaminated in the 1970s due to unauthorized disposal of construction and demolished debris, liquid wastes including oils, oil sludge and wastewater. Furthermore the communities health is impacted by traffic, industrial spills, dumping, household and industrial use of fertilizers and the spread of pesticides. (EPA, 2012)
Sunset Park has a total of 232 acres of brownfield sites,
To act in response to environmental decay and answer to
which are almost 1/3 of the 585 acres of industrial
the community needs alternative strategies are used for
waterfront. As Alan Berger would call it: drosscapes, in
the brownfields. They can serve as energy crops and/or
an urban environment, which has been left neglected but
as permeable surface for water runoff and reduce sewer
at the same time have a huge potential for increasing the
overflow (which is a critical problem in New York City),
biodiversity of the urban landscape. The waste landscape
and counter the need of desired open space while still
has to make space for continuous energy flows and
being productive by growing food and bringing Sunset
transformations, and therefore place has to be made
Parks inhabitants closer to the consumption and disposal
for non-permanent structures, but integrate inevitable
‘dross’ into a more flexible strategy (Berger 2006). Investing in redevelopment of brownfields has been slowed down for investors by expensive cleaning fees, 180
high insurance for protection of the investors who have no liability protection and complicated approval processes (RYAN 1997). In order to facilitate a more attractive
governmental incentives are given at federal, state and city level (NPCR, 2012).1
1 Government agencies at the Federal - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-, State -Department of State (DOS)-, and City - Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) – level provide incentive programs to see these brownfields be redeveloped. These incentives include Brownfield Tax Breaks (BTCs), environmental insurance policies, liability protection, Brownfield incentive grant (BIG), Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA), Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP), Community Brownfield Planning District, NYC Brownfield Partnership, Brownfield Works, Environmental Training Program and NYC Pocket Parks Program. All these incentives should provide money for environmental cleaning and development and job training and job creation (NPCR, 2012).
The areal maps give an understanding of the decline of industry leading to the underutilized spaces and brownfields. (Google earth 2012, Oasis Maps 2012)
Brownfield strategy Brownfield strategies
Energy crops 182
Extracting of air and soil pollution by phytoremediation
Extracting of air and soil pollution by phytoremediation
Creation of inclusive social space
Creation of inclusive social space
Anaerobic digestion of food waste
Anaerobic digestion of food waste
Site remediation becomes one of the structuring elements of a new industrial landscape. The brownfield remediation strategy can be seen in different phases over time. They will make space for flexible usage depending on the grade of contamination on the site. In this way some plots can immediately be â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;redevelopedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and used as community garden or large biomass production sites, others will need a longer restoration time. In this way the process of remediation becomes dynamic and allows for future flexible functionalities, without obstructing future expansion or
productivity. The technique of phytoextraction is a technique that
exploits the phyto-remediation plants for the removal of pollutants in the soil, some plants have the ability to translocate pollutants to the cell compartments and
Production of vegetables
digest them. The plants are cultured in the polluted soil, the absorption of the pollutant is carried to the roots, which then translocate pollution to the air. The aboveground part of
Creation of inclusive social space
the plants, i.e. the part in contact with the air, will then be removed and with it also the pollutant. The harvest of the biomass has to be processed as hazardous waste
Anaerobic digestion of food waste
depending on the level of pollution, others can be used in the anaerobic digestion system. (Korade et al. 2008)
Phytoremediation simulation of Bush terminal
Typical ccontaminants present at the waterfront and plants used for phytoremediation CONTAMINANT
THE LEVEL OF REMEDIATION IS DEPENDENT ON ITS FUTURE USAGE:
found in paints, dyes, metals, pesticides and soaps
Alpine Pennycress Common Wheat*
Accumulate in fish and marine mammals at much higher levels than in sediments and water
Paulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Scarlet Rose*
White rot fungus
They are also contained in gasoline and diesel exhaust, soot, coke, and cigar and cigarette
smoke. In addition, they are the byproducts of open fires, waste incinerators, coal gasification, and coke oven emissions.
*Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Multi family housing, recreation, park
Chinese brake fern Sunflower*
TYPICAL PLANTS USED FOR REMEDIATION:
Single family housing, gardening, playground
Farming animals, growing food
(Diagram based on: Korade et al. 2008, Division of Environmental Remediation, 2004)
Ryegrass* * can be used in context Sunset Park
New site restoration proposal based on flexible remediation strategies
From brownfields to greenfields
Climate protection Image improvement for redevelopment Energy Educational function Increasing of greenspace Recreationall value Soil upgrading Sustainable development
â&#x201A;Ź 4.000 - 6.500*
Energy production regional organic waste
Soil remediation Marketable product
Excavation & fill
â&#x201A;Ź 40.000 - 80.000*
*The costs associated with remediating lead contamination on a 2,500sf lot through phytoextraction using Indian Mustard can be reduced to 10% of those using common methods of excavation and fill (EPA, 2010)
Site Proposal Infrastructure: Sunset Park has due to its waterfront the
waste in order to have more productive energy rates.
perfect location to distribute the end produced fertilizer. The former railway, which is currently not being used, is
Although the spreading of odors is almost limited due to
penetrating into the site enabling a direct disposal of the
the process of anaerobic digestion, a wind study is made
organic waste coming from Brooklyn. waste collection
to see the direction of the prevailing wind flows in order
points are attached along the railway, in order to prevent
to prevent any disturbance to neighboring inhabitants.
saturation of transport through one particular community.
The huge surrounding area can be used to grow biomass
As illustrated in the map on the next page, collecting
and as a green landscape for the community residents.
facilities can be sited in industrial business zones along the rail line. 186
The Brooklyn Army Terminal is governmentally owned,
Map 6: most common wind directions
which is currently being used predominantly as storage of goods. It can accommodate more activities to fill in the enormous space available. This creates the opportunity of using the building to store the final product before exporting
improvements of the facility.
Presence of the wastewater treatment plant: currently owns 6 functioning digesters that process the sludge before sending it to landfills. They do not however extract energy, which would be limited when sludge is digested alone, therefore the existing digesters can be (as mentioned before) an offset to co-digest organic
Map 7 Waste network with collection points along railline
Red Hook Container Terminal
Strategic regional location with rail and water connection
Significant maritime and industrial areas Industrial business zones Marine container terminals Existing rail infrastructure Road network
TO POWERGRID New York Power Authority
LOCAL: Urban agriculture site remediation PROFIT: Botanica Gardens export rooftop farms
TO SURROUNDING HOUSING URBAN AGRICULTURE DIGESTERS
MUNICIPAL ORGANIC WASTE BROOKLYN
UPROSE works as a mediator between municipality and community to represent community needs
LOCAL BUSINESSES Brooklyn Wholesale Meat Market Restaurants Supermarkets, Grocery Stores and Convenience Stores
Public Schools Green Carts Farmers Markets CSAs Urban agriculture
Garbage has had a very negative connotation up till
Brooklyn Botanical Garden, urban farming projects and
now in the face of many poor income communities, this
CSA’s to provide the income of waste materials and the
is why this project is particularly sensitive to the people
distribution of fertilizer.
of Sunset Park. To create a community synergy with the
Together with UPROSE the recycling facility will create
waste facility, and let them benefit of the waste profits,
the ‘TASTE-THE-WASTE’ program to create a public
a local community group UPROSE is included in the
awareness of the possibilities of organic waste and to
project to be the mediator between NYC officials and the
promote recycling and urban farming. The ‘TASTE-THE-
community. They will be included on many levels, from
WASTE’ gardens can be maintained by local residents,
promoting waste recycling to finding new stakeholders
and UPROSE can start educational programs for children
to participate in the waste processing.
and adults about recycling and food cultivation.
Commercial businesses can reduce their expenses by
The design will integrate much desired open space
bringing their own recyclables to the recycling facility.
and create a synergy with the surrounding community
UPROSE will be in charge of finding local employees
involving in more actors in the project to create an open
and find potential partnerships with for example the
Creating Creatingsynergies synergies
The parallel interrelation of different facilities and the
Brooklyn Wholosale Meat MArket
potential of new synergies are an important aspect in
regional organic waste
creating an efficient methodology in the waste landscape. Although creating these synergies would generate benefits for all actors involved, they are not dependent to
each other in order to function.
cargo tram rail urban agriculture
+ 190 biomass
CSO TASTE-THE-WASTE gardens
amount of waste before digestion amount of waste after digestion
191 NYC Power Grid
mixture of sludge and organic waste ANAEROBIC CO-DIGESTION
Owls Head Wastewater Treatment Plant
shipped to landfill as odor cap
The site is interpreted as a model that allows flexible
recycling, and see the lifecycle of their organic waste.
adjustments and gradual transformation. With its
The environment around the Brooklyn Army terminal
waterfront access to connect to the public water transport
is re-qualified with parts of urban biomass production,
system, and the greenway crossing the recycling site,
phytoremediation and an orchard that can nurture trees,
steers people attention to different sectors of the facility.
which later on can be planted within the city fabric. In
Transparency in the project is very important and public
this way the site creates a new form of economical and
participation is one of the most essential parts of its
ecological value where the former monotone landscape
succession. The community gardens of the TASTE-
made place for public productivity.
THE-WASTE program allow people to learn about
Axonometry of design proposal
Brooklyn Wholesale meat market organic feedstock
STEP 4: Electricity
regional power grid 194
In order to make the previous proposed synergetic diagram more tangible, this diagrammatic functioning of the site is showing an optimal usage of the existing infrastructures. It reveals the dynamics of the brownfield strategies in synergy with the waste recycling.
Diagrammatic organic waste cycle on site
Recycling collection point Households
Phytoremediation STEP 5: Storage
Biomass Taste The Waste 195
STEP 2: Anaerobic digestion
STEP 4: Compost drying STEP 3: Gas collection
Cargo tram with regional organic waste
STEP 1: Pre-treatment
STEP 2: Anaerobic co-digestion with sludge
To landfill 90% reduced Waste water treatment plant
Detailled section of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cut and fillâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; groundworks
The rainwater network is captured and guided to the
connections, one is the greenway, which goes along the
open space at the waterfront where it can be stored
whole Brooklyn waterfront, the other one is connecting
in water ponds. These ponds are interwoven into the
the residential neighborhood with the waterfront. A
landscape of the brownfields and start to form the new
new waterfront transportation system is brought to
landscape through cut and fill applications. Intentionally
the abandoned pier and gives a fast connection to
placed tree lines create a higher buffer on top of the filled
Manhattan. This gives a welcome push to the shortage
spaces keep the soil settled. During heavy rainfall the
of fast public transport. The pier has a multiple usage
biomass fields can serve as extra water buffers and form
because it also facilitates the anaerobic digesters and
composting process. In this way the recycling facility can
The system of water management and brownfield
help to fund the public usage of the pier.
remediation can bring back biodiversity within the deprived industrial waterfront and form recreational
Furthermore the new development structure is just a
spaces for neighboring residents.
guide towards positioning of new small-scale businesses. Small boxes are scattered along the waterfront, which
The transport network on the site enables passers a
serve as manufacturing spaces. These boxes mainly
glimpse on the new recycling landscape. The recycling
contain one floor and can be filled in or redeveloped if
facility is sited at the cross point of two important soft
the existing structures are deteriorated.
Map 8: rainwater network rainwater catchment rainwater carriers green buffer permeable surface with biomass production rainwater collectors cut and fill
Map 9: transport network internal industrial traffic soft waterfront connector new public watertransport greenway connecting the waterfront parks of Brookyn cargo tram rail
Map 10: new development structure
new development and infill of vacant manufacturing buildings new affordable housing
view waterfont access
recycling drop-off point
view from section
view from section
recycle drop-off point
parking Brooklyn Army Terminal
internal truck road
This thesis tries to tackle with the issues and constraints observed in sunset park during the course of its research. To the authorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eyes the complexity of the current obstacles can be seen as interrelated socio-economic layers, ranging from the lack of job opportunities/ economical activities to the hazardous and unhealthy environment. Additionally, it is noteworthy to mention the absence of political voice of the neighborhood; in other words the interests of the inhabitants are not considered in perspectives of the city vision plans. The existence of waste dumping and power plants in Sunset Park manifest inequalities that thrive in New York City (Sze 202
2007). The uneven distribution of the polluting facilities should be restored and each borough should carry the responsibility of its own waste management and power production. In respect to the aforementioned conditions the taken redevelopment strategies should bring a common solution. In other words the problems cannot be tackled individually, a common sense is needed to create synergies between the multiple aspects of the problems. The waterfront area is taken into account as a platform for implementing the urban revival strategies due to its potentials and proximity to the neighborhood on one hand, and the urgent need of rethinking about the
environmental impact of the present facilities and the
path crossing the Brooklyn waterfront. Environmental
brownfield legacies on the other.
restoration of the surrounding brownfields becomes one of the structuring elements of the site and strategically
Moreover waste is seen as an asset to restore the deprived
placed educational platforms are implemented near
environment and a food waste cycle is envisioned at a
surrounding residential buildings and public accesses
local and regional scale as a benefit for local economic
offering multi-functional, collaborative use of space.
development as prototype for New York City’s waste
Local residents and community organizations maintain
these educational platforms, known as the ‘TASTE-THE-
Environmental impact of fossil fuel-based energy
production demands an urgent shift to cleaner and more sustainable manners of power production.
This process cannot be seen as a closed entity;
Recycling organic waste, of which daily over 13.000
therefore the role of community is of major importance
tons is being shipped to landfills, has the opportunity to
for the succession of a new form of participation in the
create three byproducts: power, heat and fertilizer as a
production and disposal cycle of the city.
marketable product. To the opportunities of this system
The role of the community organizations like UPROSE,
for the environmentally deprived community should not
which are the political voice of the inhabitants of the
be overlooked, heat can be used in surrounding houses,
neighborhood is to improve and accelerate the course
and the fertilizer can be used at the degraded polluted
of the redevelopment strategies through reflecting the
soils for growing crops to restore the contaminated
people’s needs to the decision makers and make a stage
environment. The resulting clean power source meets the
for a continuous dialogue between both parties. A major
demand of the neighboring community and can replace
duty of the communities is to motivate people to be
existing polluting power plants.
involved in urban redevelopment projects and instead of being passive consumers invite/educate them to be an
To create a participatory environment the recycling
active part in the local economic chain and have a feeling
facility is implemented in an open landscape with two
of ownership to these projects.
public access corridors. One is leading to a new water transport connection; the other is the greenway cycling
TOWARDS A LEARNING COMMUNITY “I believe that the school is primarily a social institution. I believe that education, there fore is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.” Dewey on education, John Dewey, p22
Education, inclusion and urbanism
Education is an important aspect in every ones life. It af-
interesting. Can a landscape be designed in such a way
fects your place in the class system, your chances on the
that it stimulates a community of learning that can offer
job market, the way you think,… No one will contradict
opportunities for both the community and the school at
that education has an important impact on your future
the same time? Can a decentralized educational land-
and your life in general . Therefore it seems logical that,
scape bring advantages to the less fortunate, which
in an inclusive neighborhood, everyone should have the
schools by thermself are not able to.
right and get the same opportunities to go to school and attend a meaningfull and good education.
In this design I will focus and examine these questions through reflecting them on Sunset Park. First some as-
Nevertheles it became clear that, especially in a low-
pects of the US and NYC educational system are in-
income immigrant neighborhood such as Sunset Park,
vestigated, highlighting some particular policies that
eduction cannot be specified only on the formal system
have great influences on disadvantaged neighborhoods.
of public and private schools. In a neighborhood as this,
Secondly, an analysis is made on the region of Sunset
the interrelationship between school and community is
Park itself, especially focusing on the needs and con-
not to be underestimated. Poor achievements in educa-
cerns regarding education. Hereafter, a short theoreti-
tion are often linked to the social and economical dys-
cal framework is given about some interesting concepts
function of that community and visa versa. Therefore the
such as the community school, the network school and
argument is raised that schools should not be treated as
the principles of COL “the City of Learning”. Finally, a
isolated entities, neglecting the different issues concern-
design to enhance Sunset Park’s “learning community”
ing the neighborhood. Instead, the question is stated if it
is proposed consisting of five basic strategies. In cer-
is possible that school and community develop interest-
tain places of the community several of these strategies
ing relations that are able to improve both the community
come together. These places will begin to function as
together with the schools.
“educational platforms” in the neighborhood. A zoom is made on three specific schools in Sunset Park and the
Because of this interrelationship between schools and
possible new connections and collaborations they can
the surrounding neighborhood, the connection between
establish towards these proposed platforms.
urban design, inclusion and education becomes really
Education in NYC
Classroom at PS971 (Source: authors, 2012)
This makes that schools situated in poor neighborhoods, with deteriorated properties, are not able to raise as much Education in NYC
money for schools, as schools that are situated in more
Education in the US is mainly provided by the public sec-
wealthy neighborhoods. This funding gap is crucial, and
tor (+/- 80%). Compulsory education differs from state
manifest itself very explicit in NYS. This leaves children
to state. In NYC school attendance is required between
in less wealthy neighborhoods already with considerable
6 and 16 which includes elementary school or primary
disadvantages, not taking into account all other disad-
school and high school. After that, students can enroll
vantages children in poor neighborhoods already have to
into college or university. Most children already attend
deal with. This funding gap contributes to a viscous cir-
school from nursery school or kindergarten. The public
cle children in subordinated neighborhoods giving those
school system in New York City is managed by the New
neighborhood any opportunities at all.
York City department Of Education (NYCDOE) and is
the largest in the United states. The NYCDOE consist of
No Child left behind
1700 schools and serves more then 1.1 million students.
An important and particular major school reform was the “No Child Left Behind (NCLB)” – act, president Bush de-
veloped in 2001. NCLB is focusing on school success as
Funding for public education is coming from three levels:
measured by student achievement. The goal of the NCLB
federal, state and local level. Particular about this funding
– program is to raise academic standards, close achieve-
system is the funding gap that can be identified among
ment gaps, encourage more school accountability, and
different schools in different neighborhoods. Local fund-
offer more choices to families and students. (NYCDOE,
ing is a big part of the public education funding which
2012) NCLB requires a state-wide standardized test that
makes that the amount of money particular schools re-
all students have to fulfill every year. The level of a school
ceive varies dramatically. This local funding depends
depends on the yearly progress report that is based on
largely on property values, not just from state to state but
the progress students make on these standardized tests
from district to district. 44% of the local funds comes
on the one hand as well as an evalu
from property taxes from residential and commercial properties of the district in which the school is situated.
ation of the teachers. Ratings are given on performance levels in English language arts and mathematics. A key part of the law are the consequences schools that score inefficiënt are imposed.
In schools that are rated “in
need of improvement” for two years it becomes possible for students to transfer to another school. Students in “schools in need of improvement” for three years may receive free additional tutoring (supplemental education services). If schools are “in need of improvement” for longer than 5 years, the school is eligible for closing, hiring a private company to run the school, or asking the state office of education to run the school directly. Due to the education reform policies, major Bloomberg, closed the past decade, 117 of the least performing schools spread
over NYC , from which 25 last year. (NYC coalition for educational justice)
George Bush (Source: www.washingtonpost.com, last viewed on august 26 2012)
Although this reform act was been created to reach the same performance level among students in all of the US
it’s actually achieving lowered standards because many
schools, including the less fortunate, the act received a
states have ‘dumbed down’ their tests or changed the
lot of criticism and is not solving any of the problems so
scoring of their tests to say that more kids are passing
far. In the book “The death and life of the great American
than actually are (Ravitch, 2010).She believes that in this
school system”, Diane Ravitch stated that the basic strat-
way we are tending toward an education marketplace
egy of NCLB is “measuring and punishing” and that it
and there should not be any competition. Schools op-
turns out that, as a result of putting so much emphasis on
erate fundamentally — or should operate — like fami-
the test scores, there’s a lot of cheating going on, there’s
lies. The fundamental principle by which education pro-
a lot of gaming the system. Instead of raising standards
ceeds is collaboration. Teachers are supposed to share
what works; schools are supposed to get together and
supervision of every classroom. The general idea behind
talk about what has been successful for them. They’re
the changes is that the mayor runs the school system as
not supposed to hide their trade secrets and have a
a business (Ravitch, 2010).
survival of the fittest competition with the school down
The tests were considered to be the major performance
the block.” The No child left behind standards are still
indicator besides which the school could also include
standing under the policies of Obama although Obama
other subjects. However because teachers and students
acknowlidges some of the issues and therefore allowed
know the tests are in fact the only measures, there is little
for more flexibility in each state.
motivation for them to include other subjects. Elementary and middle schools have little reason to pay attention to
Bloomberg on education
subjects that are not included in the test, such as: art,
Between 1969 and 2002, control of NYC schools was
physical education, science, history or civics. (Ravitch
decentralized. When Michael Bloomberg was elected in
2001 he claimed that he would transform the school sys212
tem drastically. In 2002 he put his word to the test.
Public education in the US
(NY times, 2012)
Obviously education is critical in the individuals, community, city and state level to achieve economical suc-
A lot of changes were pushed through such as large sala-
cess, success in the labour market and success in life
ry increases for teachers, closing a many low performing
in general. Education affects every part of our lives. For
schools and opening smaller charter schools. The most
the majority of people your education level will determine
radical change was the fact that he persuaded the state
your income level, your place in the class system, your
legislature to give him ultimate power and responsibility
health and your future. Despite several decades of for-
for the city’s schools. The Bloomberg-Klein program is
mation, public education in the United States, once be-
called Children First and it supports the same ideas as
ing a model-system, is still criticized and under pressure.
the federal No Child Left Behind program.
Examining the case of Sunset Park it becomes clear that the most vulnerable neighborhoods and children are
The reorganization installed a corporate model of tightly
still suffering from a system, where schools get unequal
centralized, hierarchical, top - down control, with strict
chances and opportunities.
Structure of education in the United States Postdoctoral Study and
Professional 6 Schools
Master’s Degree Studies
3 Associate Degree or Certificate
High school diploma 17 15
4 - Year HIgh Schools
Senior High Schools
Combined Junior- Senior High Schools
14 13 12
Junior High Schools
11 10 9 8 7 6
Elementary (or Primary) Schools
5 4 3 Age
Kindergartens Nursery schools
Elementary (or Primary) schools
Secundary Education (Academic, vocational, Technical)
Vocational Junior or technical Community institu-
Postsecondary Education (College, University, Professional, Vocational, Technical)
Ph.D or Advanced Professional Degree
Bron: national center for education statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d99/fig1.asp source: national center for education statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d99/fig1.asp, last viewed on 20/08/12)
Educational barriers and opportunities in Sunset Park
Dreamers picture, (Source: authors, 2012)
NEW YORK CITY Number of public schools
Number of students
Public and private school enrollment
Grades K - 5
Grades 6 - 12
Between 16 and 24, not in school and not working
Educational attainament 25 years and older
Less than a high school degree Bachelor degree or higher
Disconnected youth - Between 16 and 24, not in school and not working
COMMUNITY DISTRICT 7 - SUNSET PARK
73,7% 7,7% 92,3%
SOURCES: Brooklyn neighborhood reports 2012, community district 7, Center for the study of Brooklyn, Diirector: G. Maneval http://insideschools.org/districts/brooklyn/district-15
EDUCATIONAL BARRIERS IN SUNSET PARK Language skills and literacy is a main issue for residents to integrate into community and find decent jobs. For most residents in Sunset Park the primary language â&#x20AC;&#x153;What happens after the final school bell of the day rings
they speak differs from English (70%) and 31% does not
is as important to students as what goes on in the class-
speak English well or at all. Furthermore, the ability of
rooms.â&#x20AC;? Mayor Bloomberg.
the parents to speak English is closely connected to the success of their children in school or the success they have in labor market. A lot of the parents are not able
Sunset park is a low income, immigrant neighborhood
to support their children with their homework . A lot of
that has different particular issues and needs that con-
residents lack the language skills to enter documentation
cern education. Even today new immigrants are arriv-
or access to the facilities they are in need of. Among
ing in Sunset Park. At this moment Sunset park has an
people who are undocumented there exist a fear towards
largely Hispanic/Latino population (47%) and a growing
seeking the help they need from agencies or government
Asian population that almost doubled between 1990 and
or to join certain community organizations. (Lutheran
2000 ( 27%). This cultural diversity is a hallmark for the
health center, 2010)
neighborhood but contributes to struggles that manifest on educational level as well. Overall 40% of the residents did not complete high In Sunset Park still 24.8 % of people lives underneath the
school and 15,6 % of youth between 16 and 24 is not in
poverty level. This percentage increases among fami-
school and not working. (Brooklyn neigborhood report,
lies who have children. In these families the poverty rate
2012) . This percentages are worse than the averages in
increases to 34.9%. This high percentage of poverty is
Brooklyn and NYC. Sunset Park also knows a high drop
linked to low-wage jobs these immigrants fulfill. A phe-
out rate caused by several reasons such as the pressure
nomena that is highly caused through the fact that peo-
of the yearly state exam, the un-supporting environment
ple in Sunset park are unskilled or have low â&#x20AC;&#x201C; language
the youngster often live in or the hopeless future the un-
and literacy levels.
documented immigrants face because their lack of legal
Youth age 16-21 Unable to Speak English well or at all - Brooklyn Community district. 0.7% - 1.3% 1.4% - 2.1%
2.2% - 4.0% 6.5%
4.1% - 7.0% 7.1% - 17.5%
2.0% SOURCE: Youth in Brooklyn: Demographic, Economic, Education and Risk Behavior Data for Youth Age 7-21,Produced for the Brooklyn Community Foundation November 1, 2009 Center for the study of Brooklyn, Director: G. Maneval
status limits their access to college scholarships and employment. Drop outs are a problem that is manifested all over NYC but knows
alarming high percentages among Mexi-
can immigrants where about 41 percent of all Mexicans between ages 16 and 19 in NYC have dropped out of school.
Another key issue is the time gab because schools in US end around 3 ‘o clock where on the other hand parents have to work until at least 6 o ‘clock. The time in between is crucial to find safety nets for children’s whose parents are working long hours. Children who do not have this safety net are said to often end up in vandalism, youth
gangs and so on. Sunset park is a poorly funded area, where a lot of parents have struggles to find programs for Children served in Child Care & Out-of-School Time (OST) New York City, 2009- 2013
there children already. Even more, this issue is becoming increasingly problematic, now there are plans to cut child care and after-school services for more then 47.000 children all over NYC. 36% of parents using after school pro-
137 225 120 062
113 794 94 215
grams, serving elementary and middle school students, -61.1%
52 000 53 315 27 000
Child care Enrollment **
Mayor’s proposal for 2013
* OST enrollment based on fiscal year data contained in the Mayor’s managment reports. ** Child care enrollment based on januari 2012 enrollment data from ACS Child care snapshots.
stated they would quite there jobs so they could stay home with the children. ( Campaign for children, 2012)
WEB OF EDUCATIONAL BARRIERS IN SUNSET PARK
FOR UNDOCUMENTED RESIDENTS
INDOOR &OUTDOOR SPACE
LOW LANGUAGE & LITERACY LEVEL
LOW EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT
UN - DOCUMENTED
FEAR LOW - INCOME IMMIGRANT NEIGHBORHOOD
YEARLY PROGRESS REPORT
ADDITIONAL LEARNING PROGRAMMES HIGH
LACK IN AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS & CHILD CARE
EDUCATIONAL GAB LACK IN - yearly state exam - unsupporting environment - cutting funds
Runs a program wiht children from PS 503 and PS 506 i in the community garden in Sunset Park.
“ The issue of gardening at schools would really take some thougt and organization. But what they could do… there are communitygardens all over the city that are in walking distance of so many schools and that are vacant during the school day. And they could easily create programmes simular to our programme, it would be easy to hook up a programm that would be a collabaration with communitygardens in 100 different schools of more… “
“It took a decade, to adjust to the huge phenomena of parents not being home until 6o’clock. And one result of that is that children have to stay in schools or in programmes. This is a very porely funded area where people really struggle to find stuff for the kids to do cause they are still at work until 6oclock. And the food justice movement is fairly young so we did not figured out a way to connect it up yet.”
“In New York city the school system is very hard to change, it is very much of a top down thing … that creates micro managment of every moment, morning , noon and afternoon. There is no time to do anything thats not going to achieve the goal of testing better on mandatory tests. In that sense, like everybody else, i dont see a way of making any progress on this, in terms of the larger city.”
It seems that schools are still operating as independent islands, focusing on achieving high standard mandatory test to weed out the least performing teachers and schools. Too much emphasis is being put on a “poor pub-
Sunset Park has scores lower than averages in Brooklyn
lic education system,” when so many of these problems
and NYC on educational achievement. It is a neighbor-
are embedded into the social – economical conditions of
hood that is poorly funded and has to deal with a lot of
the surrounding community. Policies are less concerned
barriers and limitations concerning education. These lim-
about improving connections between community and
itations are strongly connected to the conditions of the
schools although the interrelationship between both is
community being a low income immigrant neighborhood.
not to be underestimated. We can not fix schools without
On the other hand schools in NYC are working in a sys-
looking to the community and visa versa. How can a Win-
tem where huge emphasis is put on achieving test result
win situation for community and schools be designed?
and scoring well for the yearly progress report. If schools are rated more than 2 years as “in need of improvement”
A lot of theorist believe in the idea that school and com-
children are stimulated to go to another school. So the
munity should be more connected as well that education
solution of the government is rather focused on aban-
should not only be situated inside the classroom but has
doning schools an sending children to adjoining neigh-
to happen in the community making valuable connec-
borhoods in stead of improving schools or connecting
tions that are able to improve as well community together
community and school through looking what the specific
with the schools.
needs and concerns of a certain neighborhood are. The funding system for schools that is partly based on property taxes only strengthens the vicious circle. A disadvantaged neighborhood that has the highest needs of quality education and neighborhood improvement gets the least opportunities.
John Kixmiller in garden (Source: authors, 2012)
LIFE LONG LEARNING
The purpose of this design is not to make the case against schools, but to look how schools can be stronger connected to the community, as well as the other way around, how can the community serve as a educational
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Education is not a process that ends in mid-teens: that
platform in collaboration with the schools. Is it possible
is schooling. The two should not be confused. Education
to find in this way a landscape, a society that is more
is potentially a life-long process of exploring and discover-
inclusive and that enables advantages for the less for-
ing the workings of the world. Schooling is a compulsory
process, rigid, hierarchical; run according to the demands of a curriculum rather than its pupils.â&#x20AC;? Peter Buckman,
Education without schools, last page.
Many theorists that studied the topic of education such as Dewey and Illich, talked and discussed the role of the school in society. Both criticize the institution of the school. The school is acting too independent, there is almost no connection to the community, the reality of the society where the youngsters grew up and the world around. The school is acting as an island where students are imprisoned all day long and where they are bounded to a curriculum that has almost no connection to their real life.
Many people believe that we learn the most from our surrounding, from our friends and from people who share interests, in groups. (education without schools, p5.)
Principal at PS 971,a new charter school in the south of Sunset Park.
“ In this district are serious overcrowding problems in schools. This is a new school, that only exist for two years, but we already have to deal with a lack in indoor and outdoor space. I am dreaming of a new sports hall for my school, with a play area and garden on top of it... ”
“ Enrollment is all about zoning. If people want to move into this school, they have to move into this area. If people from a certain zoned area are from one culture, children will not experience another diverse culture ”
“ Our school is focussed on art, cooking and healthy food, and we want to make children more aware of their environment. Unfortunately we do not have an own garden to grow food, and we do not have relations with the community gardens... ”
He stated that education being a social process, the school is simple that form of community life in which all those agencies are concentrated that will be most effective in bringing the child to share in the inherited resources of the race, and to use his own power for social ends.
“ I believe that much of present education fails because
(Dewey on education, John Dewey, p22.)
it neglects this fundamental principle of the school as a form of community life. It conceives the school as a place
Deweys ideas formed the basis for the development of
where certain information is to be given, where certain les-
what should later be called “community schools” and
sons are to be learned, or where certain habits are to be
what at this time is well-known concept in the US. The
formed.” Dewey on education, John Dewey, p24.
coalition for Community schools CCS is one of the latest organizations that is working on education on both national, state and local level. They are one of the latest and only movements for full service community schools. On
John Dewey was one of the leaders on educational
the level of NYC the children’s aid society, that is an ac-
theories in the US at the beginning of the 20th century.
tive and founding member of the CCS, works strongly to
His work had great influence on the current ideas about
achieve community schools and works together with the
education. In his book Experience and Education (1938)
NY city department of education as well. Although this
Dewey put emphasis on the experience, purposeful
organization supports several projects in the boroughs of
learning and hands – on learning outside the classroom
Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten island, it does not sup-
and next to the imposed curriculum. Education should
port any community school in Brooklyn so far.
be more concerned with the students experience instead of delivering knowledge. Dewey was one of the first
“A Community School is a strategy for organizing the
thinkers that saw the school as the center for the com-
resources of the community around student success. It
munity and where the school could serve as a pivot for
is both a place and a set of partnerships between the
social life and neighborhood based social services.
school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, services, supports and opportunities
Ruth Stanislaus (Source: authors, 2012)
leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Schools become centers of the community and are open to everyone —all day, evenings and weekends, year round. (Children’s aid society; community schools in NYC, 2010 )
The most important aim of the “community school” is to bring community and school closer together, to start collaborations between the students, teachers, parents, non profit organizations, health and youth centers in the community. Here the school will not function, only as a school anymore but will become a community center where everyone of the community has a sense of belonging. The 228
school is opened after school hours and even during the weekend to host other facilities that profit everyone.
Children in garden (source: www.cityfarmer.info, last viewed on 15th of august 2012)
Illich claims that educational disadvantage cannot be cured by relying on education within the school. He says that it should be obvious that even with schools of equal quality a poor child can seldom catch up with a
If a person is to grow up he needs, first of all, access to
rich one. Even if they attend equal schools and begin at
things, to places, and to processes, to events and to
the same age, poor children lack most of the educational
records. He needs to see, to touch, to tinker with, to grasp
opportunities which are casually available to the middle
whatever there is in a meaningful settingâ&#x20AC;? Ivan Illich, p14,
class child. These advantages range from conversation
The deschooled society. Education without schools
and books in the home to vacation travel and a different sense of oneself, and apply, for the child who enjoys
A second concept concerning the relationship between
them, both in and out of school. So the poorer student
school and society is the networked- school. Here it
will generally fall behind as long as he depends on school
is not as much the community that integrates into the
for advancement or learning. (Ivan Illich, 1983)
school-building but the school that integrates and is a
part of an educational network in the community. Illich
Is it possible that in a neighborhood as Sunset Park, that
criticizes the institutionalization of education that is tend-
has limitations, low literacy and educations level, higher
ing towards the institutionalization of the society as a
poverty rates than average numbers in Brooklyn or New
whole. He believes in a de-schooled society and talks
York city, a de-centralized landscape of learning can
about educational networks that should create a learning
bring educational opportunities to the disadvantaged
environment without schools being the center and only
ones which schools by themselves are not able to?
focus of education in a neighborhood. He says that the current search for new educational funnels must be reversed into the search for their institutional inverse; educational webs which heighten the opportunity for each one to transform each moment of his living into one of learning, sharing, and caring. (Ivan Illich, 1983 )
COL - THE CiTY OF LEARNING
The concept of COL is based on 10 strategies.
1. Integrate COL stakeholder – teachers, students, administrators, parents, and civic and business leaders – “Urban public schools are one the greatest domestic
into the planning process.
challenges facing the United States. Often, the dys-
2. Break out of the “big box” school
function of city neighborhoods and schools is related:
3. Coordinate school projects as part of a strategic plan
students from deficient schools inhibit community
and economic development; depressed community
and towns and construct a lesson plan derived from lo-
economies reduce local tax revenues that can be used
improve schools. Together, schools and communities
enter into a downward spiral.” Roy Strickland, the city of
ings as opportunities for various kinds of learning and
Inventory learning opportunities in neighborhoods
Inventory neighborhood and town sites and build-
6. Where possible, mix uses at school sites
7. Coordinate agencies, programs, and funding sources COL, the city of learning, is develop by Roy Strickland,
that can contribute to school projects.
architectural and urban designer at the university of
Michigan. COL provides a strategy for revitalizing the
facilities and services
urban public school system through providing valuable
9. Include learning space into building of all types
connections with the community and is already executed
10. Use technology to support COL
in different cases in Washington DC, Berkeley CA, and so on. COL is built on the premise that teachers and learners can contribute to community life and community resources can contribute to learning.
Concerning the public sector in delivering learning
COL PRINCIPLES - Paterson
A good example of the feasability of the COL principle is the Metro-Paterson Academy for communications and Technology (MPACT). Several principles were successfully implemented in this project.
Paterson had many existing vacant industrial buildings in the city. The upper floors of these buildings offered large spaces to expand the number of classrooms and
secondary facilities such as design studios without building new campuses. This way, mixed use between private sector, neigborhood and school was introduced into the new campus for the school.
Principles col, (sources: Roy Strickland, 2003)
schools, green pathways were installed in Paterson beThe same statement holds true for the brownfield site in
tween the school buildings.
sunset park where classrooms, sportclubs businesses and community organizations will be combined. In both
Finally Paterson set up a collaboration project between
situations capital and space intensive facilities are (or will
the schools and several public and private instances
be) shared between different school facilities on the one
such as hospitals and local buisinesses.This approach
hand and third parties on the other hand.Furthermore, to
stimulated the external learning possibilities for the stu-
connect these renovated sites with the existing
COMMUNITY SCHOOL - Het Keerpunt , Antwerp
A good flemish example of the concept of the “Brede school” is the school “het Keerpunt” in Antwerp. When the technical school that was occupying the buildings was closed, several buildings became available for functional re-orientation. The building is now being used for partial education. At the same time the school is opened for external organizations such as: a nursery, a music school, an art school, several local committees and a cooking school. These functions are often after-school activities but also enable contact between the daytime students and the community. The nursery for example 232
enables single moms to enjoy the lessons and provide hands on internships for the students of the care-studies. The snack bar “Hacienda” in the school forms the meeting point for everyone visiting the school and is run by the students of the school. However, three evenings per week the snack bar is transformed into a real restaurant where the students from the cooking school prepare meals for their guests.
Het keerpunt, antwerp: (source: Agion)
Design strategies Creating a web of education in Sunset Park
MIX USES AT SCHOOLS & INCLUDE LEARNING SPACE INTO BUILDING S OF ALL KIND
RETHINKING EXISTING EDUCATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURES
BUILDING COMMUNIITY PARTNERSHIPS & CREATE A LESSON PLAN DERIVED FROM LOCAL RESOURCES
HOW TO BUILD STRONGER CONNECTIONS BETWEEN SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY ?
USE OF POTENTIAL VACANT INFRASTRUCTURES
CREATE OPPORTUNITIES AND SPACES FOR LIFE LONG ANDS HANDS ON LEARNING AND CULTURAL EXCHANGE
Design strategies in Sunset Park
The 5 main strategies used in the design towards Sunset park as a learning community are the following:
Building community partnerships & create a lesson plan
- building community partnerships & create a lesson plan
derived from local resources
derived from local resources.
Sunset park has a lot of local resources and learning op-
- mix uses at schools & include learning space into build-
portunities within its neighborhood which benefits should
ings of all kinds
be used as good as possible. Again: learning by doing, resources such as cultural institutions, libraries, hos-
pitals industry and so on can be used to provide new
- rethinking existing educational infrastructures
ways of education. New programs or activities can be
- Use of potential vacant infrastructures
created and can be tied into the standard curriculum of
- Create opportunities and spaces for life long learning
the schools and can help support educational programs
and cultural exchange
such as internships, work-study programs,.... Furthermore, the existing infrastructure of these institutions can
These strategies are partially based on the principles of
be supplementary to the already existing school facili-
COL, as explained before.
ties. Inclusion of learning spaces into a diverse palette of buildings. This approach can also be viewed the other way around: new functions and programs can be integrated into the existing school facilities.
Lutheran Family Health center Important local resources in Sunset park are: Sunset Park recreation center, Sunset park Branch library, Sunset park industrial businesses , the commercial 5th and 8th avenue and so on. However, the most obvious, and at
Sunset Park family health center
Sunset gardens - elderly care
Sunset park Branch library
Head start center
Sunset park recreational center
Lutheran â&#x20AC;&#x153;magical yearsâ&#x20AC;? childhood center
St. Andrews childare
services (sources, google maps 2012)
Lutheran family support center
Center for family life
this moment the most important one, is Lutheran health
and rights in the benefit of the community. A few of them
center. Lutheran Family Health Centers (LFHC) has been
are already providing educational programs such as a the
a strong partner and a leader in working towards the re-
Center for family life, Adelante Alliance, Sunset Park Alli-
vitalization of Sunset Park since its foundation in 1967.
ance for youth or La Union.
LFHC offers primary care services but also focuses on the connection with the community. It tries to identify the
problems in the neighborhood and provide an answer to
Mix uses at schools and create leaning space into build-
the problems and needs of the residents. Today LFHC of-
ings of all kind
fers a wide range of services within the neighborhood of
As already mentioned infrastructures can be mixed and
Sunset Park. Besides the larger hospital, LFHC also runs
can offer supplementary facilities to the already exist-
smaller family health centers, senior housing, home care
ing school facilities. New educational spaces can be
programs, early childhood services, and so on. LFHC has
housed in the buildings of Lutheran family health cen-
school based health centers in 14 schools in and around
ters, the Sunset park library and so on. The other way
Sunset Park for primary care, mental health, counsel-
around is also possible: new functions and programs can
ing and dental services. LFHC employs nowadays over
be integrate into the existing school facilities. The school
3000 people which makes them the largest employer in
should not function anymore as an isolated island open
from 9AM to 3PM instead it should open its doors from early morning until late evening, allowing for a mixture of
Community based organizations
after-school programs, additional learning programs, and
Other big players in creating community partnerships are
encourage activities organized by organizations that do
community based organizations who function as a medi-
not have there own community space.
ator between the schools and other community resources. They will play a key role in organizing, pushing and coordinating the different programs. Sunset park already has a strong history of community involvement, which is expressed in a large number of organizations fighting for or strengthening community awareness for certain issues
SUNSET PARK HIGHSCHOOL
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN SUNSET PARK
Sunset park Highschool 980
IS 136 Charles O Dewey 490
MS 821 Sunset Park Prep 744
PS 1 The Bergen 1208
239 PS 503 The school of discovery 944
PS 169 Sunset Park
Al Madrasa Al Islamya islamic private school
PS 506 The school of journalism & technology
PS 94 Henry Longfellow
St. Aghata catholic private school 184 IS 220 John J Pershing 1261
PS 971 160
Our Lady of Perpetual help catholic private school 182
and green, offering more hands on opportunities.
Next to this increased educational web of partnerships, programs and collaborations a design for a visible, physical and safe structure in the neighborhood is proposed that can support and complement the educational web. Here fore two main strategies are used.
Rethinking existing educational infrastructure Sunset park is a neighborhood that already has a vast number of school infrastructures and a limited amount 240
of additional infrastructures where educational programs take place such as the Sunset park recreation center or the sunset park Branch library. These spaces can be reinvented in a way they become more functional.
In addition to inside infrastructures, existing play grounds that are bounded to the schools can be rethought as well. At this moment the majority of school yards are concrete play grounds which do not contribute towards any creativity or learning processes . Schoolyards can be transformed into dynamic centers of recreational, learning and community life, by adding new elements such as: outdoor classrooms, outdoor libraries, gardening boxes,.. . Playgrounds will be rethought to become more inspiring playgrounds in Sunset Park: Sources (authors, 2012)
ADDITIONALSERVICES IN SUNSET PARK
Center for family life Community board7
Sunset gardens elderly care Lutheran Augustana elderly home
Sunset park family health care
Lutheran medical center
Sunset park branch library
Sunset park recreation center
241 St. Andrews Childcare Head start center
Lutheran â&#x20AC;&#x153;magicalâ&#x20AC;? years childhood center
Park ridge family health center
Our lady of perpetual help Lutheran family support center
Use of potential vacant infrastructure
Rethinking existing vacant industrial buildings
Rethinking potential vacant sites
The waterfront in Sunset park, once a thriving industrial
Within the boundaries of Sunset park a decent amount
area, is at this moment under utilized, has a decent num-
of vacant lots can be found. One can find smaller vacant
ber of huge industrial warehouses . Some of them are in
lots in the residential area as well as a huge potential in
ownership of the municipality and become in that way,
brownfield sites at the waterfront. These in-fill sites are
very interesting to become new educational facilities that
potential spaces to contribute towards the learning com-
can offer an answer to the huge problems of overpopula-
munity and provide new functions that give more needed
tion in schools in Sunset Park.
public inclusionary space to the inhabitants of Sunset Park. They can be places of learning, meeting and exchanging of culture and skills.
Rethinking existing infrastructure 242
Furthermore, a network of soft connections will be created by downgrading infrastructure that is at this time over-dimensioned. By doing this, more space will be available for a green and safe pathway for children and parents going and coming from school and in-between all the different existing and potential educational infrastructures.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;School can start at a studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s front door, if the commute is designed as well as the building. Walking paths and bicycle trails connect a school with the home it servesâ&#x20AC;? The third teacher
Vacant sites in Sunset Park (Sources: google maps, 2012)
Platforms of education
Greening 3th avenue learning pockets Waterfront recreation and community park
Lutheran Medical center Healing Gardens
strategic elements come together. In the first place there are the different health services from Lutheran family
All these strategies should strengthen the Sunset Park
health center. Second there are the potential open and
educational web which is spread all-over the commu-
vacant spaces surrounding this site and finally you have
nity. However in certain areas several of these strategies
the neighboring schools that are in need of more useful
come together creating stronger feasible elements. As
space. This new learning platform will be a contribution
such they start to function as educational platforms. In
towards the surrounding health services, offering them
the design, 3 main educational platforms can be distin-
green space to rehabilitate. To conclude they also form
opportunities for collaborations between services and
1. GREENING 3TH AVENUE – LEARNING POCKETS
schools as well indoor as outdoor.
Third avenue is at this moment immensely over dimensioned and therefore will be downgraded. This allows for
3. SUNSET SPORT AND COMMUNITY PARK
a lot of new public space along this road. Furthermore dif-
The third platform will be the new nascent park develop-
ferent public schools are connected with their backside
ment at the waterfront where one of the existing indus-
to third avenue as well as some of vacant spaces. The
trial buildings will be re-used to become a new commu-
new physical structure that appears is a linear one with
nity school. This platform will offer answers to a lot of
pockets attached to connecting different school physi-
direct needs of the neighborhood, such as public - and
cally together. This new structure facilitates a safer con-
community space and pressing overcrowding problems
nection on the one hand and opportunities for interven-
tions and joint projects of different schools on the other hand. These learning pockets become flexible opportuni-
To specify the concrete collaboration between these
ties for creative learning such as temporarily exhibitions
platforms, schools and local resources, the design will
, outdoor libraries, outdoor classes, students markets,…
zoom in on three schools. Two existing schools: Sunset
that are as well public for everyone in the community.
park high school and PS 971. A third zoom is made on the nascent park development at the waterfront where
2. LUTHERAN HOSPITAL – HEALTH GARDENS The site of Lutheran medical center is one where more
one of the warehouses will be transformed into a new community /school building.
SUNSET PARK PROMISE NEIGHBORHOOD
vision behind the Promise Neighborhood Program is the idea that all children that grow up in such a neighbor-
Although policies in US mainly seem to focus on achiev-
hood should be able to have access to “great” schools
ing high scores on the yearly progress exam, there are
and can have the needed community support that will
also some great initiatives coming from federal level such
enhance this. So in these communities there exist strong
as the promise neighborhood grant Sunset Park received
systems of family and community support that will pre-
in 2010. The leading organization, Lutheran family health
pare students to attain an excellent education and make
a succesful transition to college and a career.
is awarded this grant to create the “Sunset
park promise neighborhood”. Here fore they received an
amount of $498,614. From more then 300 communities
“it is a wonderful opportunity for the Lutheran Fam-
that applied, only 21 where awarded a grant, and only 2
ily Health centers network to facilitate a community re-
of them situated in New York City. Lutheran family health
sponse that supports our most vulnerable assets - our
center on the one hand and Abyssinian Development
children” Larry K. Mc Reynolds, executive director, Lutheran
Corporation in Harlem on the other hand.
Family Health centers.
“Communities across the country recognize that education is the one true path out of poverty, these Promise Neighborhoods applicants are committed to putting schools at the center of their work to provide comprehensive services for young children and students.” Secretary
Arne Duncan, US department of education.
The collaborations in this design will be based on the partnerships Lutheran medical health center is already
The promise neighborhood grant is a part of Obama’s
establishing within its planning for Sunset park promise
campaign where he planned to invest $210 million in
neighborhood. This will be a starting point for the de-
the educational budget of 2011. The Promise Neighbor-
sign organized with a limited number of organizations
hoods Program occurred under the legislative authority
and schools but provides the option for extension in the
of the Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE). The
Lutheran medical care centers
Sunset park Branch library St. Andrews day care center
Sunset gardens elderly care Head start center
Sunset park recreation center
CENTER FOR FAMILY LIFE
LUTHERAN FAMILY HEALTH CENTERS Future: La Union, Sunset park alliance for youth,...
SUNSET PARK HIGH SCHOOL
PS 971 NEW SUNSET COMMUNITY SCHOOL
COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATIONS
LOCAL COMMUNITY RESOURCES
SUNSET PARK PROMISE NEIGHBORHOOD
Sunset Park HIghschool
Bush terminal - warehouses: future new school and community building 248
Design proposals Zoom on 3 schools in Sunset Park
Sunset Park Highschool, (source authors 2012), PS 971, (source authors 2012), Bush terminal warehouses, ( source, Nathan Kesinger)
Sunset Park high School is a newly constructed highschool build in 2009 after 38 years of community envolvement. The school works with three small learning communities: Visual and performing arts Business and entrepeneursship Health and human services
DEVELOPING NEW PROGRAMMES
Sunset park Highschool already collaborates closely with the community based organization Center for family life who organizes advisory partnership and an after school program at the site as well as the programme YEP (Youth employment programm). In addition to the already existing programs new programs will be add in collaboration with Center for family life as well as Lutheran family health Centers that are taking place in the community and that anticipate on the existing local resources in the surrounding of the school on the one hand and strenghten the school goals on the other hand. 250
After school programme YEP (youth employment programme)
GO GREEN Bush terminal students farmers market School based health center
35 DO CARE
Internships / Work-study program
Sunset Gardens Lutheran family health centers
SUNSET PARK HIGHSCHOOL STRENGHTENING EXISTING COLLABORATIONS
Center for family life
Lutheran family health center
252 Greening 3th avenue
Sunset park Highschool
Students run farmers market
Transformed green play- yard
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Go Greenâ&#x20AC;? programme
The new programs proposed for Sunset park High school
The second “DO CARE” program is in collaboration with
are related to the focuses the school already has.
“Lutheran health center” and with “Sunset gardens elderly care”. This initiative fits under the learning program
The “GO GREEN” program is a concept where students
“health and human services” and can be executed in in-
run a farmers market. They run a small parcel on the
ternships and work - study programs for the students.
urban farm but sell the products also on the market of their school. Students will be responsible for: growing
Furthermore, the play-yard of the school will be trans-
and selecting products at local farmers - learning about
formed to a more agreeable and green space that allows
each product they sell and selling fresh produce at their
for a range of different activities and will be tied into the
schools. This program will on the one hand be a learning
new learning pockets around third avenue.
experience on “business and entrepreneurship”, one of the learning programs of Sunset park High school. On the other hand, the students will learn about healthy food and have hands - on experiences in the neighborhood.
PS 971 Is a new school that opened its door in 2010. At this moment the school serves pre--K, K and first grade. The school will expand each year with one grade until it reaches fifth grade. The school is focussed on art, cooking ad healthy food and wants to make the children more aware of there environment. Although the school is new, it already has to deal with serious overcrowding problems. The school has almost no outdoor space and has no connection to the nearby community garden. The municipality is cutting funds in after-school programmes and so far PS971 has no programme to bridge the educational gab between 3 and 6 oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;clock.
Center for family life
Lutheran family health center
Through new collaborations with Center for family life and Lutheran family health centers PS 971 will be strongly connected to the Lutheran health site.
Creating new programmes
After school programme WHITE 6%
HISPANIC 35% BLACK 1%
Outdoor learning PRE-K
LOVE FOOD Healty cooking initiative at Lutheran healing gardens.
DO SHARE Healty cooking initiative at Lutheran healing gardens. Two girls (source: authors 2012)
Lack in outdoor space
Cutting public funds
No after-school programme
Out of school time Beacon programmes Cornerstone programmes 255
256 Love food program
Lutheran family health
Lutheran Medical center
Lutheran Augustina eldery care
The proposal for PS 971 will build on the current main
their own vegetables and prepare them in the outdoor
issues this school is experiencing. Due to diminishing
kitchen that will be developed in one of the vacant sites
funding they cannot offer an afterschool program to
around the care facilities. The “DO SHARE” program is
their students yet. Despite the fact that this is a recently
based on collaborations between the Augustina elderly
build school, they are already experiencing overcrowding
home and the school. This new after-school program
problems. Further more, this school has limited outdoor
brings young and old together to share and learn.
space. The health gardens themselves will be designed with a The school will develop a strong connection with the new
colorful pallet of different native plants, flowers and spe-
educational platform that is situated around Lutheran
cies interspersed with some open space allowing for ac-
medical care. The new health gardens offer an alterna-
tive for the limited outdoor space the school has, and is complementary to the focus of this school on healthy food, cooking and sustainability. In the “LOVE FOOD” program, children learn how to grow
Multi - purpose banquet room
Students of the new elementary and middleSchool
classrooms Community members Sport- infrastructure
Office- space 258 Media- center
SUNSET WATERFRONT SCHOOL
260 New Sunset waterfront school community building
development of sport site
municipal park development
One of the industrial buildings at the waterfront
low different stakeholders to take profit out of it.
will be transformed into a new school and com-
The design of the surrounding Brownfield focuses
munity building. This building that is owned by the
on the development of additional sport fields that
municipality is situated in front of the nascent park
are now underrepresented in Sunset Park. Through
that is currently being developed by the munici-
adding these community functions next to the na-
pality as well. This building provides an immidiate
scent park development, the connection between
solution on pressing issues of the neighborhood,
the inhabitants of Sunset Park and the waterfront
such as the critical shortage of school infrastruc-
will be strenghtened instead of only attracting other
ture and community space. In addition the build-
developers. It is a opportunity to make this site a
ing will house office-space, sport infrastructure, a
valuable opportunity for the community of Sunset
childcare center, a multipurpose room and a me-
dia center. A flexible use of these spaces will al-
Drawings of children (Source: authors, 2012)
Sunset Park has scores lower than averages in Brooklyn
additional services such as the Lutheran Family health
and NYC on educational achievement. It is a neighbor-
center, Sunset Park Library or vacant infrastructures such
hood that has to deal with a lot of barriers and limitations
as the industrial warehouses at the waterfront. Through
concerning education. These limitations are strongly
capturing these already existing resources it can reveal
connected to the conditions of the community being a
a lot of opportunities on which schools can rely for new
low-income immigrant neighborhood. On the other hand
collaborations, programs, or the creation of new learn-
schools in NYC are working in a system where huge em-
ing spaces. Lutheran Family health Center will become in
phasis is put on achieving test result and scoring well for
this design the main organizing component to create this
the yearly progress report. It seems that schools are still
new web of collaborations with as main driver the Sunset
operating as independent islands, in a system where too
park Promise neighborhood grant.
much emphasis is being put on a â&#x20AC;&#x153;poor public education
system,â&#x20AC;? when so many of these problems are embed-
The second finding in this design was that the connec-
ded into the social â&#x20AC;&#x201C; economical conditions of the sur-
tion of the schools and their community took place on
two levels: a programmatic level of new and enhanced collaborations and programs on the one hand and a vis-
This thesis investigated how in a disadvantaged neigh-
ible, spatial network, creating a feasible structure in the
borhood such as Sunset Park the connection between
neighborhood on the other hand. Both layers work to-
schools and the surrounding community could be
gether and complement each other. At certain places,
strengthened to obtain a more inclusive, win-win situation
were more educational elements come together these
for both. This case demonstrated that there are possibilt-
layers become strong educational platforms that form
ies to design the school and the surrouding neigborhood
the pivots of change in the neighborhood.
in such a way that it stimulates a learning community and offers opportunities for both at the same time.
I believe that such a multidimensional educational network has a power to make the shift between a top-down,
The first remarkable finding is that the neighborhood of
achievement driven school system to a system that stim-
Sunset Park has many resources that are currently not
ulates education among the entire community. Expected
recognized or used at their full potential. Examples are
dynamics of such a system can be viewed in different
timeframes: from short term to long term. Where in short term there is an increase of additional programs through collaborations that can give an immediate answer on specific needs in the community, such as: closing the educational gap through new after-school programs, empowering parents to get closer connected to there child education, offer more needed public and community space and so on. Further more, this system can be self-sustainable within the community through relying on community-based organizations and local supporting resources, not totally depending on state or city funding.
The most important change however is the long-term dynamic that such a network of learning will enhance. The neighborhood now offers a system of learning and experiences that supports and motivates the community, giving people life long support to overcome different barriers. I am convinced that this approach will help to gradually help the schools in ÂŹÂŹSunset Park to break through the current vicious circle. This trend will step by step increase the value of the neighborhood, turning the current situation into a positive upward spiral.
Hi, I am Gabriela and this is my son, Carlos, he is 8 years old. Carlos has difficulties in school but I was My name is Kaj, I was not enrolled into any after-
not able to help him because I had difficulties with
school programme, because there was no place.
English. Thanks to the new english - reading pro-
Now I go every day to the new garden at the hospital
gramme in the library I can learn to talk and write
to play and learn together with my friends and the
English in a decent way.
old people that live there.
Kid (Source: authors, 2012)
Mother and kid (Source: Chris Arnade, 2011)
Hello, I am Fernanda, I recently started to give healthy cookclasses at children from PS 971. I am Jessica and I am 4 years old.
Sometimes the kids come as well to my restaurant
Sometimes we go out the school to the garden and
and can have real experiences.
learn about different flowers. I love flowers.
Girl (Source: Chris Arnade, 2011)
Women (Source: Chris Arnade, 2011)
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URBANISM OF INCLUSION