multipliCITY Climate Resiliency
Table of Contents
1. Commentary from the Editors
2. Articles An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure / By Eva Hanhardt
Old Buildings? / By Ned Kaufman, Ph.D.
Taking the Lead in Green Infrastructure / Interview with Jaime Stein, Evren Uzer, the GI Fellows, and Editor Ana Fisyak / Edited by Caryn Burstein
NYCEJAâ€™s Waterfront Justice Mapping / Interview with Juan Camilo Osorio by Editor Claire Nelischer
Planning for Climate Change in Gowanus / By Richard Kampf
Climatescope / By Kamdyn Moore
3. Graduate Theses Communicating Disaster Preparedness / By Melissa Umberger
Planning for Community Resiliency / By Ryan Cunningham
Anastassia Fisyak City & Regional Planning Kyle Kozar City & Regional Planning Claire Nelischer City & Regional Planning
Faculty Advisor Eva Hanhardt Professor Emeritus, PSPD
4. Book Highlight Beyond Zuccotti Park
5. Technology Corner LocalData / By Alicia Rouault
6. Graduate Studios Economic Justice in the Lower East Side / By Gavin Barber
The Harlem River Waterfront / By Chris Hamby and Joseph LaGrand
Three Ideas for Sustainable Development/By Isabel Aguirre and Simon Kates 18 Ongoing Collaboration / By Rebecca Gillman Crimmins
7. Graduate Study Abroad Unwrapping Tokyo / By Roxanne Earley and Alix Fellman
A City for People (Copenhagen) / By Graham Cavangh and Hans Jensen
Report Back to New York (SĂŁo Paulo) / By Rebecca Gillman Crimmins
Cover Photo: Post-Hurricane Sandy remnants of the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk at Beach 102 st. The storm surge tossed large sections of the boardwalk throughout the peninsula. Some sections were found two blocks inland under the elevated subway line. The concrete pylons that remain are roughly 13 ft above the waterline indicating the height of the waves and surge. m CITY | Fall 2012
Editorial Board Dana Feingold Assistant to the Chair, PSPD John Shapiro Chair, PSPD Jaime Stein Coordinator, UESM Lacey Tauber Interim Coordinator, Historic Preservation
Ana Fisyak, Claire Nelischer, Kyle Kozar
From the Editors To recap—in 2012 we have seen the most severe drought since the dust bowl years, an all time record for summer ice melt in the Arctic, and higher incidences of severe weather events as Hurricane Sandy vividly demonstrated. There’s the Keystone XL pipeline which if built would unlock so much carbon that climate scientists say it would be “game over” for our planet as we know it. We have elected a president who, on November 14, clearly stated that climate change is real and it is affected by human activity and carbon emissions. He just as clearly stated he will not look at climate change policy that does not also address job creation and growth. Today, we are confronted with the reality of what happens when we don’t plan for climate change. The storm surge from Hurricane Sandy affected 1.4 million people across 11 states and cost the nation an astronomical $60 billion. There are numerous ways to address climate change and climate resilience—cre-
ate a mesh of decentralized energy systems more dependent on solar and wind energy; collapse the sprawling agricultural systems that contributes to 20 percent of the nation’s carbon emissions; support community-based disaster response and community networks; implement a climate adaptive built environment; and address waterfront development that puts people directly in harm’s way and noxious materials right in the storm surge, just to name a few. We know what do. Our responsibility as planners, system managers, and preservationists is to call attention to the need for climate resiliency and lead our cities in addressing it. If we don’t, we will see our cities slowly disappear under the rising seas. (See The NYTimes map “What Could Disappear.”) What is encouraging is that cities are now emerging as the “first responders” on climate change and sustainable development. There is a growing consciousness percolating from the grassroots to city government around green infrastructure, local agriculture, and community response. However, action toward climate resiliency is more urgent now than ever.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, thousands of New Yorkers have contributed to support community driven relief efforts. While the volume of donations and labor hours volunteered to help those affected by the Hurricane Sandy has been aweaspiring, there is a clear need for both the city agencies as well as community groups to be better prepared for disasters. We can’t just react. We have to prepare. When the editors began planning this issue we had no idea that the topic would be so significant and timely. In creating this issue, we’ve found that Pratt Institute and the PSPD are at the forefront in thinking about climate change and resiliency. Just three weeks ago, following a PSPD organized volunteer effort, a group of students, faculty, and administrators began the Pratt Disaster Resiliency Network (PDRN) to support grassroots action and long-term planning for disaster resilience for all. PDRN is gaining momentum. The clock is ticking and we have no time to waste.
Volunteers help clean streets in Far Rockaway as part of the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance re: Revive.Renew.Rebuild on November 10.
m CITY | Fall 2012
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure Hurricane Irene, October 2011 / Hurricane Sandy, October 2012 / Hurricane, 2013?
Risk = Hazard (frequency and severity) x Vulnerability (Exposure/Capacity) Source: UN ISDR 2004
Globally there is widespread scientific recognition that disasters resulting from climate change are inevitable and are expected to become more frequent. In considering the above “Risk” equation, we must realize that, while calculation of “Hazard” is crucial, there is a real limit to the scientific community’s ability to alter either the “frequency” or “severity” of an extreme weather event. “Vulnerability” is, however, something that can be significantly reduced.
As I am writing this essay, NYC is reeling from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. Before the storm hit we heard calls for people to prepare for a possible worst case scenario. Unfortunately, at that stage it was too late to consider what we should have done earlier. For the future we must work to reduce our “vulnerability” by maximizing our “capacity” and minimizing our “exposure.”
Flooding on Van Brunt St. in Red Hook, Brooklyn the day following Hurricane Sandy.
m CITY | Fall 2012
The concept of “community resilience” has become vital to understanding our “capacity” to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. Experiences from around the world have shown that the more “resilient” a community is, the more likely it is to withstand a disaster and recover afterwards. Yet, many questions arise. First, let’s take apart the term “community resilience.” What and/or who is “community”? Does it mean a physical geography or the people that live there or both? Is it a neighborhood or a municipality? Does it include workers and transient visitors as well as residents? Are all members of a community assumed to be similar? Or are there population with unique needs and challenge, such as
children or the elderly or the disabled or those linguistically isolated? Recognizing the invaluable role played by community based groups during and after Hurricane Sandy, is there sufficient opportunity and support for ongoing community involvement in decisions and efforts relating to preparation, response, adaptability, and recovery? And what do we mean by “resilience”? The generally used definition refers to a capability to absorb a shock and to ultimately recover. However, the resources available to communities before a disaster occurs vary dramatically and will result in totally different “capacities.” Communities differ in many ways: from prosperous to impoverished; from those with insurance to those without; from homeowners to renters to the homeless; from those with cars to those dependent on public transit; from those who rely on municipal infrastructures for power, water and food to those that are more autonomous or have redundant systems, etc. Unfortunately, the actual costs of creating community resilience are often underestimated or even ignored. Although some financial assistance is available for education, a low income community or a small business with few economic resources will need additional financial and technical assistance. Yet, insurance payments or federal funds most often come only after the disaster. For these reasons it is imperative for us to establish “community resilience” benchmarks that identify specific needs and strengths and to use the benchmarks in determining policies and priorities for outreach, investments, and financial assistance before, not simply after, a disaster takes place. We must use science based risk assessment that includes public health, engineering and pollution prevention as well as climatology in determining short term and long term policies and priorities. The use of a simple “cost benefit analysis” to determine priorities should be considered immoral in light of the inevitable threats to lives, health and well being of workers, residents and first responders alike.
Finally, given the potential for catastrophic impacts, we must also focus on preventing “exposure.” This presents a real challenge to current practices. Certainly, where there are existing populations and businesses, the focus must continue to be on making them better
prepared, educated, and resilient. On the other hand we need to change our approach to new development. Currently, much like an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)that takes the project as a given and then seeks to mitigate the negative impacts, disaster planning has taken existing development and land use policy and industrial practices as givens and has looked to find ways to help foster adaptation. As an example, government agencies are already starting to acknowledge the need for adaptation with changes to building codes and coastal zone regulations requiring climate resilience measures. While the above are clearly important steps, in
required to adopt best practices such as pollution prevention or be located upland? Should the siting of critical infrastructure such as power and water utilities be prohibited along threatened waterfronts? Should only uses that can be easily closed prior to a severe weather event be permitted? Should we construct hurricane barriers? If so, where and what happens to those areas that cannot be protected by the barriers? Should we require certain types of development, such as wetlands, that can act as natural sponges? Realizing the immense human and financial costs of Hurricane Sandy, I suggest the time has
Most of the streets in Red Hook were covered in oil and chemical slicks in the days following the storm.
the future, land use and development decisions that actually reduce or prevent exposure are needed. Must we consider retreat? Are there locations where we should not build or rebuild at all? When and where should land use regulations and decisions be based on eliminating or minimizing “exposure” rather than on real estate market interests? When and where should we limit the amount of vulnerable populations and properties? Should new housing ever be allowed in vulnerable locations? If not, where are the upland locations and finances for new public and affordable housing? Should new industries that must use or store hazardous materials be /4/
come to confront these difficult questions and that, as we pay for “cure” today, we commit to “prevention” for tomorrow. While NYC will never be able to eliminate “Risk,” it is clear that there are measures we can and must take to reduce our “Vulnerability.” Eva Hanhardt is a City and Environmental Planning Consultant whose interests and professional career have centered around community-based and environmental planning. She has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at Pratt Institute and was the Coordinator of the Pratt Institute Environmental Management Systems Masters Degree Program. m CITY | Fall 2012
Ned Kaufman, Ph.D
A New Strategy to Lower Global Warming
There are lots of reasons for protecting old buildings. But until recently, few would have guessed that cooling the planet would be a compelling one. In fact, reusing existing buildings is a key strategy for cutting energy use, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and pushing down the rising temperature curve. The green building and smart growth movements advocate energy-efficient new development. But this argument misses two key points. First, where new green construction adds to the existing building stock, the best it can do is lower the rate at which emissions might otherwise have increased; they’ll still increase. Second, where new green construction replaces existing stock, all it can do is lower future emissions; in the short run, again, they’ll increase—and sharply. The explanation for this seemingly perverse outcome is simple: efficiency claims for new green buildings generally don’t account for the energy costs of constructing them or of demolishing the buildings they replace. Green buildings do produce long-term savings in operating energy, but in contrast to these gradual gains, the energy costs of demolition and construction are immediate, up front, and sub-
stantial. It takes years to make up for them. How many years? A recent study done for the National Trust for Historic Preservation found it takes 10 to 80 years for a new green building (one 30 percent more efficient than the average) to make up for the energy cost of replacing its predecessor. (For office buildings, the payback period ranges from about 25 to 40 years; for singlefamily houses, from about 40 to 50.) That’s too long to wait; climate scientists tell us we need to make reductions now. Sure, green building is a no-brainer where new construction is needed. But wherever old buildings can be upgraded and kept in service, conservation is the climate-change strategy of choice. Fortunately, existing buildings have tremendous potential for improved environmental performance. Some techniques draw on advances in building science, like light tubes—sophisticated arrangements of prisms that can throw daylight into spaces far from windows. Others rely on new ideas in building delivery like commissioning, a process for fine-tuning building systems and keeping them that way. Still others call for creative design like recognizing the hidden potential of throwaway spaces. But some of the best are just a matter of taking care. Simple steps like sealing air leaks, insulating attics, cleaning boil boilers, and caulking windows produce immediate energy savings at low cost. In fact, they save building owners money. Many preservationists worry that growing pressure to upgrade may threaten cul cultural values. I don’t believe that. Of course national treasures call for a higher standard of care than the ordinary old house. But they
always have. There’s simply no reason, environmental or cultural, to expect the same environmental performance from Mount Vernon as from thousands or millions of old buildings – or to retrofit it according to the same standard. But for those old buildings, meeting the climate challenge offers the chance of a meaningful new life. And that’s a gain for preservation. From an environmental perspective, the benefits of this kind of conservation are huge. That’s why the Clinton Climate Initiative has made building retrofits a
Wherever old buildings can be upgraded and kept in service, conservation is the climate-change strategy of choice. key part of its global warming campaign, while the Living Cities group calls mass retrofits the “Holy Grail” for cities bent on cutting emissions. And from a design perspective? Currently renovation and rehab account for about a third of architectural revenues, and (at five billion square feet annually) half of total construction. Any way you look at it, that’s a tremendous opportunity: for creativity, for earnings, and for meeting the challenge of climate change. Ned Kaufman is a freelance consultant in heritage conservation and director of research for Rafael Viñoly Architects. He is the author of Place, Race, and Story: Essays in the Past and Future of Historic Preservation and of three books on national historic sites and parks.
Ordinary buildings offer a bounty of low hanging fruit for emissions reductions. The Historic Chicago Bungalow Initiative helps owners renovate their houses and upgrade their environmental performance. The program simultaneously stabilizes neighborhoods, preserves streetscapes, celebrates a prototypically Chicago building type, and improves the city’s energy profile—all at little cost.
m CITY | Fall 2012
Caryn Burstein and Ana Fisyak
Taking the Lead in Green Infrastructure
Interview with J. Stein, E. Uzer, and GI Fellows A. Theodoridis, R. Diamond, and L. Ponce
As the city slowly settles into the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the effects of climate change loom overhead. Now, more than ever, it cannot be ignored that sustainable adaptation measures must be taken to address water management issues. Pratt Institute has put forth several initiatives to promote green infrastructure and mitigate storm water damage. Ana Fisyak (CRP) sat with Jaime Stein (head of the Urban Environmental Systems Management (UESM) graduate program), Evren Uzer (UESM faculty member), and Leonel Ponce, Ross Diamond, and Andreas Theodoridis (UESM students and Green Infrastructure Fellows) to discuss this topic. The interview was compliled and edited by Caryn Burstein (UESM). Ana: What was the origin of the Green Infrastructure Plan? How and why was the green infrastructure grant program started? What are the issues that influenced the DEP to start thinking about this?
Jaime: The Pratt Facilities and Institutional Advancement departments, along with the UESM program, first applied for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Green Infrastructure (GI) grant in April of 2012. The DEP was allocated a few million dollars to distribute to grant awardees through the program, and 2012 marked the grantâ€™s second year in operation. Pratt was one of the receivers of grant funds that were to be directed toward designing and building green infrastructure on private property. Originally, we proposed 3 projects on Prattâ€™s campus: a green roof over the Higgins Hall Auditorium, a parking lot retrofit on Classon Ave, and a green roof over the North Hall cafeteria. All projects were primarily based on storm water capture and mitigating the effects of combined sewage overflow (CSO). The city is under federal mandate to clean NYC surrounding
Infographics like the one above from the Summer 2012 Design Build are a powerful tool fo make the invisible visible. It shows green infrastructure is not only ecological, but also cost effective. Infographic credit: KristenWilke
waters, hence the push for reduction of CSOs and grant-related incentives for property owners to take stewardship of their own property in regards to storm water management. The original proposal also included social elements like workforce development, job training /6/
opportunities, and the promotion of education through project implementation which were not weighed as heavily by the DEP as the physical infrastructure components. Pratt compiled the proposal with academic and community outreach initiatives in mind, however the DEP has only m CITY | Fall 2012
logical monitoring equipment that will now be used in the irrigation system for the North Hall green roof. The second workshop focused on aerial imaging and the next two will focus on recycling. The final workshops will be around toxicity.
Abundant migratory birds usually stop-over in New York City to refuel on their often multi-national migrations. Intensive greenroofs could provide a rich habitat. Infographic credit: Nathaniel Ziering
provided funds to support the green infrastructure specifically. The expertise of Pratt’s students and faculty—Paul Mankiewicz, Gita Nandan, and Elliot Maltby (who led a design-build course which brainstormed ideas for the design and construction of the proposed infrastructure)—have been of great assistance throughout the process. Ana: What are elements of Pratt’s application that made it stand out and lead to it being awarded the grant in 2012? What have been some of the other successful projects? What advice would you give to other organizations?
Jaime : As mentioned, the experts involved, like Paul Mankiewicz, are well-known throughout the green infrastructure community in New York City. Additionally, Pratt is an academic institution with a large footprint in Brooklyn and an interest in taking responsibility for that footprint. Pratt had signed the mayoral challenge in 2007 with a dedication to sustainability on campus. Pratt also has the unique ability to incorporate green infrastructure education and implementation of the projects into the classroom, which can be an extremely beneficial component of the overall process. As a model, Pratt has demonstrated the ability to engage individuals, both internally and externally, in the larger cause. Urban campuses can act as demonstration pieces for the surrounding community, bringing to light some elements that often are not seen or discussed. The institute strives to “make the invisible visible” through the talents of artists and designers creating more m CITY | Fall 2012
visually appealing material to illustrate the importance of green infrastructure. Pratt is particularly interested in involving a variety of disciplines in the green infrastructure process. Ana: Can you tell me about the green infrastructure fellowship program? It seems that the green infrastructure (GI) fellows are doing a lot more than just work around the grant project, can you talk about that work?
Leonel: The students aimed to use existing platforms in the city—Maker Fair, New Green City—as opportunities to showcase the GI grant and the work that Pratt has done inside and outside of the classroom. One unique element that has sprung from the grant is a workshop series led by Evren Uzer which provides tools for students and community members to go above and beyond the existing parameters that surround green infrastructure projects. The hope is to surpass the goals of what is accomplished through a “normal” green infrastructure project. Evren: Six design and technology workshops have been planned to coincide with the GI grant process at Pratt. The coordinators strive to involve all departments within the school, and reach out to community members as well, in order to bring different viewpoints and talents to the project. There is a large graphic, artistic component to the workshops, as a logo and signage are created for each. Slowly, awareness is building about the project; each workshop relates to and will contribute to the grant work. For example, the first workshop involved the development of techno/7/
Jaime : The school decided to have three GI fellows each semester for the first three years of the projects’ lives. The grant applicants are preparing to submit 60 percent of the complete designs to the DEP shortly, meaning that construction is right around the corner. This term’s GI fellows include Leonel, Andreas and Ross. Leonel is focusing on the maintenance portion of the infrastructure plan and incorporating innovative strategies. Andreas is currently responsible for outreach and informing the community of projects, and Ross is involved with the design of the monitoring plan. Pratt is one of the only projects this year to receive funds in support of monitoring. Ana: Green infrastructure addresses a lot around climate change and climate resiliency, what was your reaction to Hurricane Sandy?
Jaime: The City prepared for a wet weather event as opposed to a storm surge, which is what occurred. “We don’t really think about that”— green infrastructure typically refers to rain, and it now needs to take a different approach. Wetland infrastructure is a very promising mitigation effort in response to storm surge; for example the images of Battery Park City in the MoMA Rising Currents Exhibit. Soft structure as opposed to hardscapes is the ideal solution—wetlands as opposed to a floodgate. Ross: The Netherlands plans for the ten thousand year storm while New York City plans for the one hundred year storm. Andreas: Perhaps New York City should look to them for guidance. Leonel: This goes far beyond storm or flood preparation, it is a social issue, an educational opportunity, a chance to have a powerful sustainable impact. In initiating sustainable water management infrastructure, the City will be adding values and benefits to society as a whole. Jaime: Green infrastructure has much broader and much more consistent positive impacts as opposed to say a seawall. It can provide opportunities for job creation, social and health benefits, and community development.
Ross: In the interest of green roofs and habitat, New York City has yet to settle on a “model” green roof that is appropriate for its climate and urban environment. However, this technology could be very beneficial to ecology in the city, and increase bird populations, and biodiversity in general. The students are hoping to monitor ecological productivity in the Pratt GI project with a webcam for wildlife observations. “Any nature is good nature” in an urban environment. Andreas: Others will be allowed access to the data so that the reach of this project stems far beyond its initial inception. Ana: Are there best practices we can look to in regards to green infrastructure?
Ross: Germany is currently installing “brown roofs,” due to certain ecological conditions of the area that call for that type of system. In New York City, intensive green roofs are the most viable option with the associated evapotranspiration, aesthetic beauty, and the fact that they provide more opportunity for wildlife habitat. Extensive green roofs, while better than nothing, are essentially a roof replacement, and the City needs more than that. Andreas: New York City has a lot of industrial flat
roofs which are perfect for intensive green roof application.
Ana: That is a good point. Is there a way design can incorporate maintenance?
Ana: Should the City incorporate mandatory green roofs into legislation?
Andreas: Those responsible for green infrastructure design must be aware there may not always be someone to maintain that design. That must be taken into consideration
Ross: Green roofs are not a technique that is supported enough to make it a mandatory building component. Leonel: However, it is worth the investment, and the lifetime of the existing roof actually ends up doubling upon the installation of a green roof. This is the beginning of the process of showing the potential of green infrastructure and its full cycle effects. Andreas: Heat island effect, a major issue in New York City, is substantially reduced by the use of green roofs. The positive effects of green roofs span a wide range of issues. Jaime: The importance of a maintenance plan and education of proper green infrastructure usage cannot be ignored. Great plans can ultimately fail due to lack of maintenance. For example, the parking lot on Pratt’s campus was retrofitted to permeable pavement initially, but became ineffective as the maintenance was ignored.
Leonel: The designers must be prepared for systems to fail, but that is part of the learning process – fail, learn from it, make it better. Ana: When PlaNYC came out it was a clear indication from the administration that sustainability was on the table. Do you think there is a way to insure that green infrastructure and sustainability remains a priority even in a post-Bloomberg administration?
Jaime: Evren and the GI fellows are bringing information to the community through signage, programming, outreach and education. This is a way for PlaNYC initiatives to remain a priority after Mayor Bloomberg leaves office. It’s about community education and empowerment. It becomes not just responsibility of an administration, but it becomes a vital component of residents’ daily lives and how they think about their urban environment.
Beyond Zuccotti Park
A New Book Explores Democracy and Equity in Public Space This past September, Oakland-based New Village Press published Beyond Zuccotti Park: Freedom of Assembly and the Occupation of Public Space, a compendium of essays exploring the design, history, mechanisms of privatization, militarization, exclusion, art and activism around public space. Edited by PSPD’s own Ron Shiffman in collaboration with Lance Jay Brown, Rick Bell, and Lynne Elizabeth and with Anastassia Fisyak (CRP) and Anusha Venkataraman (CRP ’10), the 432page, illustrated book examines the importance of public space as a community forum for citizen expression. More than forty contributing authors put free civic engagement into the center of the dialogue on the built environment by addressing issues around where and how people can congregate publicly today, whose voices are heard, and the factors that limit the participation of people of color. The book was conceived in response to
repressive actions against Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that spotlighted US Constitutional First Amendment rights. Beyond Zuccotti Park features essays from Councilmember Brad Lander, DDC Commissioner David Burney, Sadra Shahab (CRP), Caron Atlas, Jonathan Rose, and Mindy Fullilove as well as from New York Times architectural critic Michael Kimmelman and urbanists Saskia Sassen, Peter Marcuse, Michael Sorkin, and DOT Commissioner Janette SadikKhan. The book which has been praised by the likes of Mile Wallace (Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898) for its “vigorous conversation, hard thinking, and bold proposals” is part of national public space initiative Democracy, Equity and Public Space which will include an exhibit, travelling forums, and study circles. Visit beyondzuccotti. org for more information and upcoming events. /8/
Beyond Zuccotti Park
Freedom of Assembly and the Occupation of Public Space
Editors Ron Shiffman, Rick Bell, Lance Jay Brown, and Lynne Elizabeth with Anastassia Fisyak, and Anusha Venkataraman Foreword Michael Kimmelman
Contributors Roland V. Anglin Caron Atlas Thomas Balsley Terri Baltimore Shirin Barghi Marshall Berman Julian Brash Wendy E. Brawer Paul Broches Carlton Brown David Burney Brennan S. Cavanaugh
Susan Chin Alexander Cooper Arthur Eisenberg Karen A. Franck Michael Freedman-Schnapp Mindy Thompson Fullilove Gan Golan Jeffrey Hou Te-Sheng Huang Lisa Keller Brad Lander Peter Marcuse Jonathan Marvel
Signe Nielsen Michael Pyatok Michael Rios Jonathan Rose Janette Sadik-Khan Saskia Sassen Paula Z. Segal Sadra Shahab Benjamin Shepard Gregory Smithsimon Michael Sorkin Nikki Stern Maya Wiley
m CITY | Fall 2012
NYCEJA’s Waterfront Justice Mapping
Interview with Pratt Instructor and NYC-EJA Policy Analyst Juan Camilo Osorio
Founded in 1991, the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) is a non-profit, city-wide membership network linking grassroots organizations from low-income neighborhoods and communities of color in their struggle for environmental justice. Under the leadership of Eddie Bautista (NYC-EJA’s Executive Director and Pratt Professor) the alliance launched in 2010 the Waterfront Justice Project as a citywide community resilience campaign to reduce climate change vulnerability in industrial waterfront neighborhoods. The campaign has focused on the Bloomberg Administration’s proposed revisions to NYC’s Waterfront Revitalization Program (WRP), the city’s coastal zone management plan. NYC-EJA’s research and advocacy is especially concerned with WRP policies impacting the city’s six Significant Maritime and Industrial Areas (SMIAs). The SMIAs are clusters of heavy industrial uses and infrastructure—most of which are located in communities that have historically struggled with environmental justice issues. Climate change impacts in the form of flooding, storm surge, sea-level rise, and strong winds, may severely impact industrial waterfront communities. The potential release of hazardous substances and toxic chemicals in these areas poses a serious threat to human health and the environment. Pratt Professor and NYC-EJA’s Policy Analyst, Juan Camilo Osorio, has coordinated a research and GIS mapping project to analyze the risk of contamination and exposure in the SMIAs in the event of storm surges and severe weather. By overlaying the SMIA boundaries (as well as specific industrial sites/facilities of concern) to storm surge zones, NYC-EJA has demonstrated how NYC’s industrial waterfronts are vulnerable to climate change. The results of this research have been used to convince the City of New York to reform the SMIA policies, in order to address m CITY | Fall 2012
community vulnerability to the risk of toxic exposures. Moreover, the Waterfront Justice Project seeks to take advantage of opportunities to incorporate climate adaptation and pollution prevention strategies in the context of the Waterfront Revitalization Program and beyond. The success of the process so far demonstrates the power of maps and data in the context of community organizing, policy analysis, and planning advocacy. This serves as an example of how students can work as active members of a research team to affect real-life policy decisions. The Waterfront Justice Project is a vivid illustration of the kinds of partnerships—between PSPD faculty, students, and community-based planning organizations—that separate Pratt from other urban planning schools. What follows is an interview with Juan Camilo Osorio about NYC-EJA’s Waterfront Justice Project and the impact it has had on the ways that communities, academia, and government agencies interact. Claire Nelischer: How has the Waterfront Justice Project changed the way that community groups interact with municipal government?
Juan Camilo Osorio: Yes, absolutely. First, the Waterfront Justice Project is an innovative example of the way that community-based groups interact with Pratt. This is a campaign where faculty and students have been partnering with NYC-EJA to create original research to inform a policy agenda. The Waterfront Revitalization Program (WRP) is the legal mechanism through which the city evaluates whether planning and design waterfront proposals are consistent with the city’s waterfront policies as seen in the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, Vision 2020. NYC-EJA launched the Waterfront Justice Project to create NYC’s first citywide community resiliency campaign. As part of this effort, the cam/9/
paign has advocated to reform the Significant Maritime and Industrial Area’s (SMIAs) in order to address the vulnerability of these industrial areas to flooding, storm surge and sea level rise —among other climate change impacts—and help prevent hazardous risk exposures. Establishing a partnership where faculty and students have been developing original research with and for NYC-EJA has been a unique asset to document the project’s policy agenda. While at the same time, this has allowed students to participate in a process to help frame a policy conversation in real time. Over the last two years, the project has involved PSPD faculty serving as research advisors, graduate research assistants participating in data and policy analysis, and NYC-EJA graduate fellows working with the NYC-EJA member organizations in the field to support organizing and local advocacy efforts. On another note, this work helps illustrate the relevance of the new GIS Service Center and Research Lab at Pratt. The Waterfront Justice Project has helped us to assess Pratt’s current capacity and potential to work on advanced spatial research initiatives in collaboration with community based organizations and other outside partners. It’s projects like this one that illustrate the impact of PSPD’s academic research in support of the work of community-based planning organizations across the city. In fact, one of the most interesting aspects of the Waterfront Justice Project is the way that NYC-EJA has used this research to frame the conversation with local elected officials and government agencies. As the process to update the Waterfront Revitalization Program started, the city created a technical advisory committee—a group of experts to inform proposed modifications to the WRP. Typically, these advisory committees do not include a grassroots presence, participants usually represent government agencies, the private
Waterfront Justice Project
sector, and mainstream non-profit organizations. However, as a member of the advisory committee representing a coalition of community-based organizations, Eddie Bautista (NYC-EJA’s Executive Director and Pratt Professor) was able to raise critical questions regarding the vulnerability of the SMIAs and the potential public health impacts related with hazardous risk exposures. NYC-EJA’s research has shown that: 1) the SMIAs are highly vulnerable to storm surge and 2) hazardous substances and toxic chemicals handled, stored, and transferred there could represent a major threat to public health and the environment in the context of severe weather. NYC-EJA came to the discussion with maps and data documenting these unaddressed issues in full detail. Nobody else had pushed for a genuine planning response to reduce the vulnerability of facilities handling toxic substances in industrial waterfront neighborhoods to potential climate change impacts, and increase the resilience of communities living and working in these areas. Moreover, NYC-EJA is convening a conversation where not only vulnerable communities and grassroots organizations are represented, but
also local industrial businesses. The Waterfront Justice Project is initiating a process to connect local stakeholders with government agencies across urban planning, environmental control, and emergency management, to respond to the vulnerability of communities in and around the SMIAs. This community-led process will help local industrial businesses’ build capacity for climate adaptation, and identify the technical and financial resources that are available to support this process. While NYC-EJA believes that it is important to protect industrial jobs, retaining an important source of employment for the communities that it represents, it is also advocating for the safest and most sustainable way to do so. CN: Do you feel that the project has set any precedents?
JCO: NYC-EJA has been sharing the preliminary results of this research with agencies that, oftentimes, don’t expect community-based organizations [CBOs] to be driving and developing original research. This changes the dynamic of the conversation—where NYC-EJA has been framing and addressing data-driven research questions, and / 10 /
formulating recommendations using the results of this analysis to push them. That’s what NYCEJA’s Waterfront Justice Project is all about: helping frame and inform this long-due conversation with data, maps and spatial analysis, that have resulted in a series of policy recommendations to the administration. The quality of the project has already been receiving some recognition. NYC-EJA presented the Waterfront Justice Project at important conferences this year, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “National Training Conference on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Environmental Conditions in Communities” in Washington D.C., and at the Annual Congress of the Association of European Schools of Urban Planning (AESOP) in Turkey— these are professional and academic events where CBOs are coming to the table with exciting original research. CN: How was the project received at the EPA’s “National Training Conference on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Environmental Conditions in Communities”? m CITY | Fall 2012
Who is affected?
JCO: The conference was very useful for the project. NYC-EJA was able to raise hazardous substances and climate change questions together, and introduce the Waterfront Justice Project to new partners at the federal level. Everybody has a stake in this conversation and we can all work together to find the most effective mechanisms to move forward. This is a conference that the EPA organizes to showcase new tools and research building on TRI data, to discuss how different users are using the tools available and how to improve these resources. We were one of a few examples of community-based planning organizations that have been incorporating TRI research, and were invited to show how we are using them and what we have found. The TRI is the most important federal database created to inform communities on the nature and potential impacts of hazardous substances—and the audience was mainly constituted by the agencies that work to protect environmental resources and prevent or manage emergencies dealing with hazardous and toxic chemicals. The EPA aimed to discuss new resources available to the general public and have m CITY | Fall 2012
users respond to them with recommendations. NYC-EJA brought the following question to the conference: What about hazardous risk exposures in the context of climate change? Not just for New York City, but nationally. Climatologists agree that a hurricane categories 1-2 can happen any time in NYC. In the past 2-3 years, there has been a strong precedence of tornadoes causing damages in the city. Last year NYC faced Hurricane Irene, and just recently the city experienced severe flooding and storm surges as a result of Hurricane Sandy. But there hasn’t been a comprehensive effort to review the vulnerability of industrial waterfront communities to potential hazardous risk exposures under severe weather conditions. The attention has been focused on building adaptation strategies to climate change, and NYC-EJA is saying that this is not enough. There needs to be land use strategies to improve the way that neighborhoods are planned and built in this context. Particularly, in order to reduce the threats posed by the way in which hazardous substances are stored, used and transferred to prevent exposure, or re-suspension in the case of brownfields. / 11 /
CN: What sets this project apart?
JCO: In this project, you can’t separate advocacy from research. Typically, either you have an agenda and do research to back it up, or the other way around. In this case, because of the nature of NYC-EJA’s work and what this is about, advocacy and research constantly inform each other. This project is the result of a network of people. NYC-EJA is a network of community-based member organizations that establish the agenda; they make the decisions on what are the priorities and the staff implements programs and projects to move these goals forward. The WJP does not just show a collaboration between NYC-EJA and PSPD, this campaign represents a citywide network of grassroots EJ advocates articulating policy and projects/programs together. Claire Nelischer is a second year CRP student and an editor of Multiplicity. She is an intern with Fourth Arts Block, working on sustainability planning for arts communities.
Planning for Climate Change in Gowanus We have all heard predictions about how climate change will affect New York City’s coastal zone. Earlier this year, I led a group of climate change scientists, global activists, and community leaders on a tour of the Gowanus Canal as part of a worldwide climate change awareness campaign with Dr. Klaus Jacob. Dr. Jacob is an urban environmental disaster expert. A professor and geophysicist at Columbia University, he has served on the NYC Panel on Climate Change and NY State’s Sea Level Rise Task Force. Late last year, Dr. Jacob spoke at VisioNYC 2080: Towards a Risk-Resilient City, an event hosted by the AIANY Chapter Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee.
His long-term perspective, white beard, and German accent quickly distinguish him from others on the climate change speaking circuit. Shortly thereafter, he agreed to chat with me about climate change and the Gowanus Canal Superfund clean-up. I was pleasantly surprised when halfway through our lunch he asked me to lead a tour of the Gowanus Canal. We were soon planning the details of what would become one of eight worldwide community-based expeditions coordinated by the Climate Reality Project, Al Gore’s climate change awareness organization. On our Gowanus stroll, we discussed efforts of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and other stakeholders to improve water quality by reduc-
Alumni Article by Kamdyn Moore
Information Design by Two Twelve Working with Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and The Multilateral Investment Fund at the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB), Two Twelve’s information design team designed CLIMATESCOPE 2012, a report and online tool that profiles the “investment climate for climate investment” in Latin America and the Caribbean. The report documents activities in clean energy development and highlights new opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors. Climatescope was released during the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012. Two Twelve’s goal was to make the dense, complicated information comprehensible for an audience of investors, analysts and journalists who work in the clean energy space, with the larger objective of the governments of these developing economies to attract investment from the private sector. The Multilateral Investment Fund and BNEF evaluated and scored 26 nations on their relative ability to foster low-carbon energy growth. The team used 30 indicators to measure the current state of clean energy and the ability of each country to attract capital to build a greener economy. Indicators were aggregated into scores from 0 to 5, with 5 representing the highest score
and the best investing environment. The indicators were categorized by four parameters: enabling framework; clean energy investments and low-carbon financing; low-carbon business and clean energy value chains; and greenhouse gas management activities. We visualized the data and methodologies for the report and translated that visualization to the interactive web tool in collaboration with a web developer. The Climatescope tool allows the user to customize the Climatescope by changing parameter weights. The user can adjust values by inputting a new percentage or adjusting the scale bar, and country rankings automatically reshuffle to reflect the results of a personalized Climatescope index. Two Twelve worked with Rubenstein Technology Group to develop this innovative approach to communicating complex information and illustrate the opportunities that abound in clean energy investment. We produced the report and tool in both English and Spanish. BNEF is now exploring the possibility of developing versions of Climatescope for additional regional markets. Kamdyn Moore received her M.S. in Urban Environmental Systems Management from Pratt Institute in 2010. / 12 /
Student Article by Richard Kampf ing combined sewer overflows (CSOs). We noted that waterfront planning must utilize a 100-year timeframe and be adaptable to 4 to 5 feet of sea level rise. We also discussed the predicted increase in the frequency and intensity of storm events and the need for the City to better understand how its century-old combined sewer system actually works, and how it doesn’t, to prevent CSOs. Finally, despite our luck during Irene, storm surge and urban flooding are major concerns in Gowanus. FEMA maps suggest that the 100-year storm surge level is approximately 10 feet above sea level. Another 4 to 5 feet must be added to the flood zone elevation to reflect the effects of sea level rise by the end of the century. The story of our Gowanus expedition was presented alongside those of Bangladesh, Nepal, Antarctica, and four other key global regions on the Climate Reality Project’s Living on Thin Ice
Waterfront planning must utilize a 100-year timeframe and be adaptable to 4 to 5 feet of sea level rise. website. The objective is to encourage communities throughout the world to hold their own expedition, raise awareness, and share their stories. The potential implications for waterfront development remain unclear but progress is being made. According to Dr. Jacob, the City is developing an inventory of the morphology and land use of waterfront properties. Planning for climate change has begun, and for it to proceed effectively, our communities will need to be aware and active in the decision-making processes. Richard Kampf is a second year CRP student. He serves on the Board of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and the Gowanus Superfund Community Advisory Group. He owns Richard T. Kampf PG, Environmental Consulting.
m CITY | Fall 2012
Communicating Disaster Preparedness:
Graduate Thesis by Melissa Umberger
Maps and Community Engagement for the Rockawaway Peninsula Climate Change, population growth, and aging infrastructure are three issues that amplify the need for a clear strategic emergency plan. My Master’s Thesis, Communicating Disaster Preparedness through Maps and Community Engagement for the Rockaway Peninsula, investigated NYC OEM’s strategies for emergency preparedness and communication using the Rockaway peninsula as a case study. Hurricanes, while not frequent occurrence in New York City, pose major threats due to the city’s high population density and proximity to the coastline. The methodology for this research included an environmental and demographic analysis of the peninsula, interviews with NYC OEM staff, and community organizations. The Rockaway peninsula is located between Jamaica Bay on the northern edge and the Atlantic Ocean on the southern edge. Due to its geographic location, it is at high risk to coastal storm surge that could inundate the entire peninsula in a Category 2 hurricane. Yet despite geographic vulnerabilities, many people did not leave when Mayor Bloomberg ordered the evacuation of the peninsula during Hurricane Irene
(August 2011). Residents of the Rockaways are also vulnerable due to socio-economic factors. As recent Census 2010 data indicates, there is wide disparity in income and home ownership, with neighborhoods in the southwest like Belle Harbor with the highest median income value of $106,853, while the lowest median household income of $23,344 was reported for the Edgemere neighborhood located in the northeast portion of the peninsula. In addition, neighborhoods in the northeastern section of the peninsula have large concentrations of vulnerable age groups (Under 19), lower home ownership rates, and a higher concentration of minorities and foreign-born population. After interviewing NYC OEM staff and community groups on the Rockaways, it became apparent that the community’s role in educating and informing their fellow community members on emergency preparedness was equally important as NYC OEM’s strategies in community preparedness. It was also discovered that there was an absence of communication between NYC OEM
Planning for Community Resiliency
and residents of the Rockaways. Even more concerning, community groups did not seem to work well with each other, often siding with their neighborhood. In order to improve communication between NYC OEM and community groups, it was recommended that NYC OEM enhance its coordination with community groups by including community residents as part of the planning process. At the local level, several strategies that may help groups work together include community based mapping projects in order engage residents more. Finally, to improve evacuation compliance, it was recommended that NYC OEM create a three dimensional map that would show the height of storm surge levels in order to communicate the impacts of a hurricane. Melissa Umberger is a recent CRP graduate. She is now working as a Community Planner at Brooklyn Community Board Six. Additionally, she teaches Labor and the Economy to UA Plumbers Local 1, at the Harry Van Arsdale Center for Labor Studies.
Graduate Thesis by Ryan Cunningham
The Case of Sunset Park In New York City Communities are often defined from a unique and relative perspective. They are made up from a mix of relationships, places, and forms of exchange. At Pratt, planners strive regularly to help communities. We pour over information, wander through streets, and gather in churches. Why? Because we love brain storming our way through problems. We enjoy brewing new opportunities, and we know how to paint a subtle picture of weaknesses and faults. We do all this while we champion fairness and strive to prevent disaster. About a year ago, I submitted my thesis, “Understanding and Planning for Community Resiliency, the Case of Sunset Park,” which taught me a few things about planning and what it means to be resilient. 1. Community is resiliency – We all know how complex communities are. All those relationships and the maelstrom of politics wrapped up m CITY | Fall 2012
in economic struggles; it’s amazing communities don’t tear themselves to pieces. However, in spite of personal differences, I found that the commonalities, relationships, and opportunities within a community help it bend and not break with disaster. Those aspects that we think of when we try to define a community are really what hold a place together far better than any physical infrastructure or financial stimulus. 2. Resiliency is sustainability – If sustainability is one side of a coin, then resiliency is the other. Whether balancing three E’s, quoting the UN, or re-inventing business, we aim to sustain ourselves and our planet. Resiliency is about recognizing the capacities (strengths) and vulnerabilities (weaknesses) of the same systems sustainability reviews, and rather than looking at them with longevity in mind, it looks at them from the perspective of risk. In a world plagued with more frequent and powerful storms, eco/ 13 /
nomic recessions, and injustice, we need to better understand how risk can affect the longevity of our systems. You really can’t have sustainability without resiliency. 3. Planners make community resiliency – Planners are probably the best positioned professionals for understanding and improving the resiliency of our communities. Planners know systems, recognize the value of community to a larger city, and can help build communication between top down and bottom up practices. Just as we have championed sustainability, so must we champion resiliency. If you do have an interest in reading the full thesis, please visit ryanacunningham.com/ about-ryan/. Ryan Cunningham graduated from the CRP program in 2011. He is currently the Assistant to the Editor in Cheif at Metropolis Magazine in New York City. m CITY | Fall 2012
Economic Justice in the Lower East Side
In the spring of 2012, the newest students in Pratt’s City and Regional Planning program joined the fray when their Fundamentals studio was assigned to pick up where the Fall 2011 studio left off. The class of eight students, working closely with three faculty advisors, partnered again with the Manhattan community and advocacy organization Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES).
historically, and for the purposes of this project, it includes an area bounded by 14th St on the north, Bowery, Baxter and Pearl Streets on the west, the Brooklyn Bridge to the south and the East River. The objective for the studio was to use the extensive earlier research as a jumping off point and to refocus on economic justice. In other words, how could the numerous problems facing
suffered with the proliferation of bars and nightclubs in a limited income neighborhood. To examine the issues more closely, and to understand how the community prioritized the various problems, the project was divided into three main tasks: 1) community survey, 2) community visioning sessions and 3) primary research and recommendations. Working in close coordination with Nikita Patel at GOLES, a survey was fielded within the community to prioritize issues. Through tabulation and analysis, the studio team was able to identify the three priority issues amongst respondents: 1) affordable housing, 2) access to jobs and 3) availability of
The hard work... helped GOLES develop the framework for what will become their Economic Justice Campaign.
Gavin Barber addresses GOLES community members during visioning session
GOLES has long been an active player in local, state and national politics, fighting for fair housing policy. They represent low- and moderate-income residents living in both private and publicly owned buildings as well as those citizens concerned about social and economic issues affecting their neighborhood. Though the Lower East Side (LES) has more recently come to represent a small area of eastern Manhattan,
low-income residents of Manhattan’s Lower East Side be understood specifically through the lens of economic justice? Residents of the LES face a number of issues as the desirability of their neighborhood increases: landlords are demanding higher rents, affordable services are becoming more scarce, restricted government resources have put increased pressure on public housing residents, and the quality of life has / 14 /
affordable goods and services. The second task involved the coordination of a series of visioning sessions in March 2012. GOLES hosted the sessions at various locations around the neighborhood and Pratt students prepared the materials, delivered a brief presentation at the beginning of each session to “set the scene,” and moderated the conversations. The goal of the visioning sessions was to move beyond the statement of problems found in the survey responses and to hear solutions directly from the community, the people most closely connected to the problems. The final element of the studio involved consolidation of this community based work with additional research into specific programs that m CITY | Fall 2012
GOLES could develop to address the priorities. With a focus on access to employment and affordable goods and services, the team developed a set of recommendations that were realistic and applicable to the LES community. Each recommendation could be implemented in the short term and with limited resources. One recommendation focused on job opportunities, recognizing that many LES residents are also NYCHA residents. Section 3 of the HUD act of 1968 says that residents of housing receiving federal funding should have access to jobs that the funding supports. This has not happened historically in the LES so step one for eligible residents should be education, and step two should be direct connection with these job openings. A second recommendation highlighted a program that has proven successful in other low- and moderate-income communities: the creation of worker cooperatives to support entrepreneurship while also meeting market demand. Looking for ways to provide access to affordable goods and services, the team couldn’t help but find some overlapping opportunities. Co-ops came to the fore again as a way to provide quality access to food and childcare. Community members highlighted the need for youth services, and there are many organizations in New York City that GOLES could partner with to provide that access. The team also recommended advocating for the reinstatement of cancelled funding for out-of-school-time programs. Another recommendation suggested that GOLES advocate for the conversion of underutilized public space, such as large school rooftops, into recreational space for children As John Shapiro put it at then end of the Spring ‘12 Fundamentals Studio Presentation, “This group was baptized by fire!” The hard work, both on the ground and during analysis, helped GOLES develop the framework for what will become their Economic Justice Campaign. Gavin Barber is a first year CRP student. Last summer he worked in the Capital Programs group at NYC Department of Transportation. Currently he is a Fellow at the Pratt Center for Community Development working on projects related to transportation equity.
m CITY | Fall 2012
Technology Corner by Alicia Rouault
Democratizing Place-based Data Collection This fall, a new tool called LocalData will help planners and community groups modernize community-led data collection of placebased information. Across the country, community groups, planners and government agencies collect parcel-level information about communities. Typically, this process for collecting, transcribing and cleaning this data can be confusing, lengthy and disempowering. LocalData addresses a need to transform this process with technology. Community group leaders can create custom surveys with a simple survey design tool in a web browser. From there, a link is sent to participating volunteers who have smartphones or tablets. Out in the field, volunteers can tap on individual parcels and answer drop-down questions relating to the property they’re surveying. Some volunteers may feel uncomfortable surveying in the field with a smartphone or tablet, lack access to expensive devices, or want to use pen and paper. LocalData also provides a paper-based version of the mobile tool. Using QR codes, optical recognition marks and Scan-Tron like fill-in-the-blank questions, volunteers can print out surveys and scan them in. After surveys are complete, the organizer can quickly upload them into a data manager that will automatically merge these geolocated entries with the input from the mobile entries in one place. An easy-to-understand dashboard and map view of the group’s data then exports into multiple useful formats (.shp, .kml, .csv). Community groups can effectively and instantly view their own data without the help of a planner. Planners can quickly digest more accurate and useful data / 15 /
Sample LocalData Survey. Source: Screenshot of LocalData.com
produced and managed by the communities themselves. This tool will always be free at the neighborhood level, but can be applied for more comprehensive surveying needs at the city, county or state level in the future. LocalData was developed by Code for America for the City of Detroit with former Pratt graduate student and planner, Alicia Rouault. Check out more information at golocaldata.org or email email@example.com and follow LocalData on twitter at @golocaldata Alicia Rouault is a proud 2012 Code for America Fellow. She has studied City and Regional Planning at the masters level at the Pratt Institute and UC Berkeley and is currently completing her Masters at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Chris Hamby and Joseph LaGrand
The Harlem River Waterfront
Running for eight miles between Manhattan and the Bronx, the Harlem River is a little-used asset to the diverse communities along its banks. Up until the twentieth century, the river—technically a tidal strait—was a popular recreational area, home to many boathouses and picnic grounds. The construction of the Metro North lines, the Major Deegan Expressway, and several train yards, conflated by the crumbling disrepair of the landmark High Bridge, cut off the surrounding uplands neighborhoods from the river’s waterfront. Today, many residents of surrounding Sputyen Duyvil, Marble Hill, Inwood, University Heights, Morris Heights, and High Bridge are unaware of this once-prominent body of water. Neighborhood reconnection to the waterfront presents a crucial opportunity to address local open space needs in the area especially in the critically underserved South Bronx. Over the years, prompted by a growing interest in the city’s waterfront, academic planning studios, government agencies, and community groups have developed various recommendations and plans for the Harlem River. Each proposed methods to address the river’s disconnect from the city, but these various recommendations had never been consolidated into a holistic vision. With the necessity of a combined plan in mind, the Harlem River Working Group—a joint project of several community organizations, governmental agencies, and commercial stakeholders—and the Trust for Public Land asked PSPD and the Pratt Center to incorporate the ideas of previous planning efforts with community feedback to create a complete, inspirational vision for the river. Nine students led by Eve Baron and Ron Shiffman, with the assistance of David Frisco and Leigh Mignogna from the Communication Design program, Jessie Braden and Juan Camilo of the Pratt Geospatial Analysis Lab, and Rebecca Crimmins of the Pratt Center, reviewed existing pro-
Community members participating in the first visioning session, held at Hostos College in the southern section of the Harlem River area.
posals, including comprehensive plans from MIT, NYU, and Columbia planning studios, state DOT transportation plans, and various proposals from the Department of City Planning and the Bronx Borough President’s Office. Proposals for reenvisioning the Harlem River have been produced over many years and the class worked to identify the most desirable elements of each plan to incorporate into a broader vision. After developing a comprehensive overview / 16 /
of the site, the studio hosted visioning sessions at three different locations along the Harlem River: Hostos College, Bronx Community College, and Lehman College. The locations were chosen strategically to span the length of the river to both allow community members up and down the shoreline to participate and to strengthen community ties with higher education institutions who wished to be partners in the planning process. m CITY | Fall 2012
The studio developed materials to clearly layout prior planning recommendations, to show potential ways forward, and, most importantly, to acquaint community members with the river itself, since it currently is not a strong piece of the area’s identity. During the sessions, participants were presented a flyover video of the river and surrounding communities highlighting key sites and proposals. Participants were asked to map out their connections to the river and how they currently accessed the waterfront. Finally, participants were asked to envision what they wanted to see on the waterfront and how they saw their communities making use of a newly accessible Harlem River. Incorporating the prior proposals, ideas and feedback from the three visioning sessions, and new ideas from the studio, students developed a final map outlining where they saw opportunities for new public space and development along the water. The map included a boardwalk “tow path” along difficult stretches of shoreline, boat launches and boat houses, a revamped High Bridge, new open space, and waterfront public transportation. Focusing on the need to connect communities along and across the river, the studio identified the best existing opportunities for greenway connections, pedestrian bridges and walkways and shoreline access for residents of upland neighborhoods. On June 11th, the studio pre presented the draft plan to the public and the
m CITY | Fall 2012
View of the Harlem River waterfront looking north toward the Broadway Bridge
Bronx Borough President at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Currently, the Pratt Center is compiling a mass-produced pamphlet on the holistic vision for neighborhood-wide distribution. This summer excavation began on newly purchased public land adjacent to the High Bridge. As awareness around the Harlem River vision grows and as more stakeholders join the planning process, the Harlem River is restitching two boroughs to its waterfront after decades of disconnection.
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Chris Hamby is a third year CRP student. He currently works for SEIU Local 32BJ, the largest property services union in the country. Joseph LaGrand is a second year CRP student. He is currently working as a Community Planning Fellow at Brooklyn’s Community Board 2.
Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) signage under the High Bridge. “Combined sewer systems (CSS) are sewers that are designed to collect storm water runoff, domestic sewage, and industrial wastewater in the same pipe. During rain events, when storm water enters the sewers, the capacity of the sewer system may be exceeded and the excess effluent will be discharged directly to the receiving water. A combined sewer overflow (CSO) is the discharge from a combined sewer system that is caused by snow melt or storm water runoff.” There are 52 CSO outfalls along the Harlem River. Source: NYS DEC and OasisMap
Isabel Aguirre and Simon Kates
Three Ideas for Sustainable Development in Wallabout, Brooklyn
Scheme of infill housing strategies in vacant lots on Carlton Avenue, Brooklyn
The Spring 2012 Sustainable Development Studio focused on an area where 165 years of industrial legacy and a growing residential neighborhood coexist and collide. The studio observed the Wallabout area, from downtown Brooklyn to Classon Avenue and from Dekalb Avenue to the Brooklyn Navy Yard (BNY), just blocks from Pratt Institute. Because the context was familiar to a majority of the students, the unearthing of critical urban questions became the challenge. Guided by professionals, Daniel Hernandez and Mathew Lister (Jonathan Rose Companies) and David Burney (Commissioner, Department of Design and Construction), the studio analyzed the driving forces of the neighborhood and alternatives for responsible development. In three groups, students sought to transform three barrier components of the study area into mutually reinforcing assets: manufacturing character, public housing, and Park Avenue. The Brooklyn Navy Yard is the greatest single engine of economic development in the area, yet it currently feels closed off from the surrounding neighborhood, limiting its potential to have a direct local impact. The Whitman, Ingersol, and
Farragut housing facilities are physically imposing and isolated from their surroundings; they also tend to have higher levels of unemployment and lower median incomes than surrounding areas. Finally, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway cuts through the study area above Park Avenue, leaving neighborhoods fractured and making pedestrian access perilous in an area that includes residential neighborhoods, schools, parks, and employment centers. Each project presented its own challenges and the role of each of these major elements was crucial. The first step was to trespass the imposing psychological and physical barrier that divides the 300-acre Navy Yard from the residential neighborhood of Clinton Hill and Fort Greene. Andrew Kimball, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC), guided a tour of the astonishing BNY installations where the proximity to the waterfront and the potential of this reinvented 40-building industrial park was grasped. Following this tour, the manufacturing group focused on the BNY as a sustainable economic incubator that can have a greater interaction with the adjacent neighborhoods. Their strategy explored / 18 /
the insertion of different projects to the BNYDC agenda—a market at an old DSNY site adjacent to Kent Avenue—and expanding the success of the BNY outward by instituting an Industrial Business Improvement District (IBID) in the surrounding neighborhood. Specific proposals included, student housing on Carlton Avenue and a job incubator in the Moshe’s storage building on Ryerson Street. The strategy focused on creating a synergistic effort to foster new technology industry that would benefit the local community through the underutilized building infrastructure in the neighborhood surrounding Navy Yard. The housing group began by focusing on the public housing, but expanded their study as their research revealed broader themes that also impacted housing in the surrounding areas. These students observed that the study area was characterized by a tension between manufacturing and residential uses that are firmly entrenched in the neighborhood. Both the Fort Greene/Clinton Hill housing market and the BNY are expanding, which has created tensions and voids in the housing market and in the built fabric of the area. The solution posed by this m CITY | Fall 2012
group is to fill the physical voids (public housing grounds and vacant lots throughout the area) and market voids (a lack of housing for individuals and families with moderate incomes) with housing types that meet existing and new residential market demand. The group proposed three strategies to provide additional housing that meets demand by building upon existing underutilized land: public housing edgefill, mixed-use infill, and work-live infill. The third group focused on the Park Avenue and BQE corridor as a significant barrier to the neighborhoodâ€™s success and proposed several strategies to make it a center of activity, rather than a dangerous neighborhood divide. Currently, this includes a concentration of densely populated residential areas, key areas of employment and economic development, and a network of several parks and green spaces surround Park Avenue. However, Park Avenue currently acts as a barrierâ€”it limits connections across its
length for a broad range of area residents, workers, and students due to speeding traffic, inadequate crossings, inefficient parking, poor maintenance, and many other problems. Their solution is to rebuild Park Avenue to be a pleasant place to spend time by encouraging pedestrian and commercial activity and making the Park Avenue corridor a destination. The strategies that the students developed address land use, traffic, and the physical environment, including a commercial overlay to promote economic activity, a reconfigured street design that emphasizes safety and access to public transit, and stormwater management to limit flooding and prevent combined sewer overflow. The studio was a unique opportunity to examine the problems and poten potential of the rapidly changing study area. The studioâ€™s
non-client approach was surprisingly productive as the analysis of the three different neighborhood anchors opened up a discussion of opportunities that would have stayed otherwise unseen. This approach freed the students to take creative perspectives and unearth short- and long-term planning alternatives for the already existing urban infrastructure. Isabel is a second-year CRP student. Before moving to New York she was a practicing architect in Mexico City where she is originally from. She is currently a Design and Planning Intern at the Municipal Art Society working on research for an urban revitalization initiative for Brownsville, Brooklyn. Simon is a second-year CRP student. His work has focused on sustainable real estate development. In addition to studying at Pratt, Simon is an architect, has conducted research on energy efficiency incentive policy, and has worked in energy efficiency finance.
Rendering of an warehouse building adapted as a mixed student housing complex on Carlton Avenue, Brooklyn
m CITY | Fall 2012
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Rebecca Gillman Crimmins
Graduate Studio Follow-Up
Between PSPD and NYCHA Residents’ Associations
The collaboration between Pratt PSPD, Healthy Families Brooklyn, and the resident associations of Atlantic Terminal, Gowanus, Warren Street and Wyckoff Gardens Houses began with a Fall of 2011 studio project focused on evaluating the impacts of the Atlantic Yards development on NYCHA developments in the surrounding areas. After hearing residents’ concerns during the community workshops, the studio shifted its focus towards broader community and economic development issues. In the Spring semester of 2012, a second studio taught by Ron Shiffman, Eddie Bautista and Stu Peretz focused on the implementation of ideas from these community workshops and solidified the relationship with the residents associations at Gowanus and Wyckoff Gardens Houses. Outcomes of this studio included the implementation of a shuttle bus to Red Hook businesses and recommendations to partner with community and arts organizations. This summer, connections were made with a group called Digital Diaspora Family Reunion (DDFR), which allows people to record their family history through photos and storytelling. DDFR held a series of workshops with residents of Gowanus and Wyckoff Houses, discussing
media representation of people of color, training on photo digitization, and exploring the elements of building a personal narrative. In another session, people brought boxes of family photos and DDFR filmed a group of women gathered around a table together, sharing their stories with the group. With this group setting, the filmmakers were able to vibrantly capture the residents’ stories and personalities. Other connections made during the semester lent themselves to partnerships for Family Day festivities at both Gowanus and Wyckoff Gardens, a free day of activities held at most NYCHA developments. Donations from local organizations and businesses included fitness classes, resume writing, health screenings by Healthy Families Brooklyn, a DJ, and a barbeque. Wyckoff Houses Family Day included a basketball tournament that was the culmination of a summer-long youth basketball program. Upcoming events related to the project include a mural painting day
with the Wyckoff Gardens Community center, with assistance from Rasu Jilani of the Pratt Center, and a film screening of the completed DDFR piece. Rebecca Gillman Crimmins is a second year CRP student with a concentration in community and economic development and affordable housing. She is currently an ANHD/Morgan Stanley fellow at Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC).
Gowanus and Wycoff Residents share photographs and histories
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m CITY | Fall 2012
Roxanne Earley and Alix Fellman
Graduate Study Abroad
Public Space in a City of Contrasts
During the summer of 2012, 18 students from Pratt Institute traveled to Japan to study public space in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Assisted by a generous grant from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and funding from the School of Architecture, the interdisciplinary team of researchers, led by Professors Jonathan Martin and Namiko Martin and assisted by Alexa Fabrega, represented both undergraduate and graduate students from City and Regional Planning, Urban Environmental Systems Management, Historic Preservation, Architecture, Film, and Art History. The diversity of the students represents one of the most important tenants of the Programs for Sustainable Development
to collaborate with Japanese planning professionals and faculty and students from the University of Tsukuba, Waseda University and Tokyo Institute of Technology. The group quickly became fascinated by the differences between the Japanese urban environment and New York City. While familiar sights found in any large metropolis surrounded us, there was something unique about the
sometimes visually jarring urban landscape. Chris Hamby, second-year City and Regional Planning student, recalls that “unlike more strictly planned Western cities, it was common for us to stumble upon a small manufacturing site in the middle of a residential neighborhood, or to turn the corner on a large shrine tucked away behind two shops.” In addition to this mix of land uses, the Japanese address system is
The city is not just pre“sented to you; you have
to unwrap and decode it.” and created a robust body of work exploring the social aspects, typologies, and history and policy structure of public spaces in Japan. Findings were recorded in three draft research reports and a short supporting documentary film by undergraduate film students, Sean Dahlberg and Will Burris. To prepare us for our work in the field, the project began in New York with a seven-session lecture course on Japanese history, culture, language, architecture/planning, and the Japanese urban environment. After this introduction, we embarked on an ambitious 17-day itinerary in Japan that included site visits and community workshops in Tokyo, excursion study tours to Kyoto and Kamakura, and multiple opportunities m CITY | Fall 2012
orderliness, the rigidity, and the visual style of Tokyo. Space in Japan, particularly public space, cannot be defined simply in terms of its physicality and form. The very notion of space in Japan is as much defined by history, use, scale, culture and evolution as it is by any specific physical characteristic. On the ground, this multitudinous set of variables results in an initially confusing and / 21 /
hardly intuitive—instead of relying on street names and sequential building numbers, which often don’t exist, an address consists of a block number and building number, which is often assigned not where a building falls on the block, but when it was built. Not surprisingly, we got lost….a lot! In our struggle to grapple with the physicality of Tokyo, we learned that the Japanese people
Public Space Typology Examples taken from Public Space in Japan: A Catalog of Typologies and a Brief Discussion of the Role of Public Space
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and their culture are as complex as their cities. While stoic, orderly, and respectfully silent on trains and in many public spaces that, by comparison, would be chaotic in Western cities, the Japanese were exceedingly gracious hosts who went out of their way to ensure that visitors to their citiey, neighborhoods, and schools felt welcomed. Multiple students reported incidents in which helpful Japanese pedestrians not only described how to get to a certain location, but also escorted the grateful student to their final destination. Johane Clermont, first-year City and Regional Planning student, told of a professor who, after hosting us for a day of joint workshops asked her simply, “Did I make you happy today?” The complexities of Japanese culture heavily influence the way that Tokyo has grown as a city; a distinct appreciation for the ephemeral, coupled with the challenges of living in a region vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis, adds a layer to how and why Tokyo looks and functions the way it does. Though we cannot pretend to fully understand Tokyo’s intricacies in just two weeks of observation, many students came away with a profound appreciation for the contrasts that make this city unique. And this appreciation was clearly earned through grappling with the city’s complexity. Second-year City and Regional Planning student Natalie Vichnevsky says of Tokyo that “the city is not just presented to you; you have to unwrap and decode it.” By unwrapping a bit of Tokyo, we broadened our understanding of public space in cities and brought a fresh perspective to our work here in New York. This initial research effort represents the foundation for what Professor Martin expects will be a long-term research initiative on Japanese planning and urbanism. His research continues next summer with assistance of another interdisciplinary team of student researchers. Graduate and undergraduate students interested in participating should contact Professor Martin directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View of Tokyo Tower from the 58th floor of the Mori Tower
Pratt and Waseda University students work together in a community interpretation exercise
Roxanne Earley recently graduated from the CRP program. She currently works as an Instructor of Environmental Science at the Professional Business College of New York. Alix Fellman is a second year CRP student. Her professional background is in nonprofit fundraising and administration. Group Photo on Enoshima Beach
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Graham Cavangh and Hans Jensen
Graduate Study Abroad
A City for People:
Urban Design in Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen, Denmark may best be known for its famous Tivoli Gardens, seasonally variable hours of daylight, noteworthy design, and wildly successful bicycle culture, not to mention the beautiful and easy-going people. During seven and a half weeks this summer, Professor Jonathan Martin lead eight PSPD students and one interior architecture student to study urban design in the heart of Copenhagen, the ancient capital of Denmark. Students were exposed to world famous architecture through a program hosted by the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS). This was the second time a significant number of PSPD students participated in the Denmark study abroad program, and the second time that Jonathan conducted lectures and directed a studio for DIS. The DIS urban design program was divided into two components that ran simultaneously: first, a lecture series designed to expose students to the fundamentals and history of Scandinavian design focusing on influences that have shaped modern Denmark; second, a urban design studio project that allowed students to actively hone their design skills and apply the design fundamentals learned from the lectures. This was the first urban design course for many students in the program. The first studio assignment required students to work in small vertically-skilled, interdisciplinary groups to research a historically significant architectural site selected by the professors. Sites ranged from famous libraries to churches to crematoriums, all representing expressions of the Nordic Modernist aesthetic. The deliverables included: literary research, hand drawings, several conceptual models, and one final group diagrammatic (or sectional) model built to scale. The assignment truly tested students on a variety of skills, not the least of which was teamwork. The dedication of students
showed in the presentations, both in the classroom and again during the study tours when students had the opportunity to visit these sites and present their finding to their tour groups. The summer program at DIS includes two study tours. One takes students on one of two overlapping trips: Norway-Sweden and FinlandSweden, where students were encouraged to practice their sketching in visual journals during a number of walking tours and site visits. A second study tour was taken to Western Denmark including Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark (Copenhagen being the first) that also had many noteworthy historic as well as contemporary examples of urban planning. â€œWhat you hear you may forget, what you see you may remember, what you draw you may understandâ€? became a sort of mantra for these trips. The final studio assignment consisted of an in depth analysis and redesign proposal for Axeltorv plaza, a historic square located in the entertainment district of Copenhagen. Students were encouraged to understand the current use of the site and how to optimize its space, breathe new life into the square, and establish a sense of place for this seemingly underutilized destination. Over the course of six weeks, students worked in studio under the guidance of their professor to create a series of site analysis hand drawings, infographics, photo collages, conceptual models, and the like, to effectively communicate their design intentions. Also, students worked together to create a scale site model complete with surrounding buildings into which they could place their individual design intervention for presentation. After many days of effort, crumpled paper, trashed models, and restless nights in front of computer screens, the time had come. Final presentations were conducted in front of a panel of guest professors and critics from a range of / 24 /
design disciplines. Although, for many students this was their first time presenting design projects, the work was received positively. Many critics commented on the dedication, quality of work and creativity that students brought to the assignment. The DIS Copenhagen study abroad program was successful on many fronts, pushing students to explore the bounds of creativity, exposing them to new ideas and ways of appreciating urban environments, and helping students to discover and develop new skills.
Understand the current use of the site and how to optimize its space, breathe new life into the square, and establish a sense of place for this seemingly underutilized destination. Students interested in applying to this exceptional program in 2013 should contact Professor Martin at email@example.com. Hans Jensen is a first year CRP student. He has a planning fellowship with Brooklyn Community Board 6 where he works on the Gowanus Canal Brown Field Opportunity Area (BOA). Graham Cavanagh is a second year CRP Student. He currently interns at Street Plans Collaborative where he assists in the development of public space and transportation projects related to bicycle infrastructure.
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Final Studio Project: Alextorv - a more Hygge Plaza Plan by Graham Cavanagh
Final Studio Project: Axle Terrace by Catherine Nguyen
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Rebecca Gillman Crimmins
Graduate Study Abroad
Report Back to New York: Sao Paulo Workshop
Pratt Institute had its first exchange with the Centro Gaspar Garcia in 2010 focused on affordable housing issues. In 2012 Pratt professor Perry Winston facilitated a second workshop with the Centro Gaspar Garcia to focus on the informal economy and to more broadly address the multitude of issues related to poverty. The Centro Gaspar Garcia is a non-profit organization in São Paulo that works on a variety of projects with low-income individuals to build
and worker-owned cooperatives, and raises consciousness about inequalities. The informal economy in São Paulo is estimated to encompass 40% of the workforce and is a sector that Gaspar Garcia works to support and strengthen. In preparation for the trip, students examined different sectors of the informal economy in NYC including street vending, recycling, domestic work, urban agriculture, and construction, and compared these findings to
run recycling co-operatives called COOPERE that are contracted by the city to sort and sell recyclable waste to wholesale material buyers from their region. Students had the opportunity to visit three recycling cooperatives. We also visited two favelas, each with their own form of social programming, ranging from soccer to economic development. Students explored the largest open-air market in Latin America, located in São Paulo, Feira de Madrugada, which draws shoppers from all over the country to buy wares in bulk. Escola Floristen Fernandes, an agricultural and popular education school located about 60
The informal economy in São Paulo is estimated to encompass 40% of the workforce and is a sector that Gaspar Garcia works to support and strengthen.
Workers sort recycling in this women built, run, and operated cooperative. The cooperative is built in the workers’ community and is not recognized by the city due to land speculation.
a more just society. Gaspar Garcia engages in a wide range of community-based work including legal defense, popular education methods, rehabilitation and professional development for former substance abusers, advocating for the rights of street vendors, and supporting recycling cooperatives. Overall, their work supports collective struggles, the formation of social networks
similar sectors in São Paulo. For each sector, students researched the size, context, working conditions, and protections available to workers. Once students had arrived in São Paulo, we were able to further explore these sectors in the city through a variety of trips planned by Centro Gaspar Garcia. In São Paulo, there is a network of worker/ 26 /
miles from downtown São Paulo, provided a brief respite from the city. Here, students had the opportunity to learn more about the longtime agrarian struggle in Latin American countries between small farmers and large corporations that has ended in bloodshed many times. Back in São Paulo, we visited a Cidade Sem Fome (Cities without Hunger) site. The organization was founded in 2004 to utilize unused areas —such as the rights of way below electric utility transmission lines—to grow produce that is sold at local farmers’ markets and to neighborhood businesses. Local residents work in the gardens m CITY | Fall 2012
and share the income from sales. On the final day of our collaboration, students presented findings on New York City’s informal sectors at Gaspar Garcia’s offices. While the two cities present a variety of challenges to unregulated workers, the struggle for a livelihood and labor and civil rights stand at the core of the informal economies in both New York and São Paulo. As both cities face development pressures and the increasing displacement of the poor, it is important to continue this international dialogue. We hope to continue this collaboration in the future, providing Pratt students the opportunity to see urban issues in an international context. We also hope to be able to bring some members from Gaspar Garcia to New York so they are able to see the conditions described over the past few exchanges in person. This ability to interface with an environment in person is a hugely different experience than reading, discussing, and theorizing in the classroom. This cross-cultural exchange is integral as we look towards solving similar problems in different global contexts.
Terms used: Informal economy: As the “informal” and “formal” economies exist together and rely on each other, it is difficult to define what constitutes the informal economy and in some ways, it can be best defined by what it is lacking. As defined by Debbie Budlender: “Informal workers lack access to secure work and social protections.”
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Popular education: Term used in Latin America to describe an inclusive educational method that uses collective struggle as an empowering tool to strengthen social movements and affect change. Rebecca Gillman Crimmins is a second year CRP student with a concentration in community and economic development and affordable housing. She is currently an ANHD/Morgan Stanley fellow at Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC).
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Above: PSPD students met with Cidade Sem Fome (Cities without Hunger) Coordinator Hans Dieter Temp on an East Saõ Paulo urban farm. The farm takes advantage of underutilized land below public powerlines. Below: Hand sorted cardboard at recycling cooperative Coopere Centro. Coopere Centro provides job opportunities for the homeless from all over the city and is recognized by the city.
Accomplishments A new report, Green Job Creation Poten-
Ron Shiffman, CRP ’69, has been awarded the
Rockefeller Foundation’s 2012 Jane Jacobs Medal for Lifetime Leadership! Medals are given to individuals “whose work creates new ways of seeing and understanding New York City, challenges traditional assumptions and creatively uses the urban environment to make New York City a place of hope and expectation.” Ron has given so much to the students of the Pratt Institute and he continues to show his generosity by choosing to contribute $25,000 of his cash reward to PSPD! Mr. Shiffman has been a professor at Pratt for 48 years and also works independently as an architecture and planning consultant.
PSPD Professor and Pratt Center founder Ron Shiffman has had a busy spring. Ron spoke at the Municipal Art Society’s debate, “The University in the Neighborhood: Debating NYU’s Expansion Plan,” in March. Ron also spoke on the role of Information Communication Technologies in the lives of urban youth at Technology Salon, an informal, in-person discussion between information and communication technology experts and international development professionals. At the April APA Conference in L.A., Ron presented a mobile workshop entitled “Enhancing Social Equity Through Green Infrastructure” and was a guest speaker at Caron Atlas’ conference followup seminar on Art and Social Change at the Community Level. PSPD Instructor and Pratt Center Senior Fellow Eve Baron has been appointed to the Steering Committee of Planners Network: The Organization of Progressive Planning. You can join Planners Network here.
Planning Through the Lens of Everyday Life is an article CRP faculty member Ayse Yonder wrote with J. Leavitt for Cahier de la Cambre no.11. She was invited by the UN Habitat Global Land Tool
tial in New York City’s Manufacturing Sector, presents the results of the Pratt Center’s in-depth survey of 30 NYC manufacturing businesses and presents policy recommendations to spur economic development in the city’s manufacturing sector. You can read the full report here.
This spring, the Pratt Center collaborated with SFMade to launch Urban Manufacturing Alliance, featured on MIT’s CoLab Radio in March. Listen to it here. Source: Pratt Center for Community Development
Network to coauthor a book on access to land (see here). She organized panel sessions at the Association of Women in Development Conference in Istanbul and the Association of European Schools of Planning in Ankara on community initiatives for resilience.
Kate Zidar, PSPD alumna, adjunct professor, and current Executive Director of the Newtown Creek Alliance, was recently featured in Grist Magazine’s “Change Gang,” profiling people who are leading change towards a more sustainable urban future. You can read the full article here. In addition, Kate also accepted the APA New York Metro Chapter’s Meritorious Achievement Award on behalf of the Newtown Creek Alliance.
The Pratt Center for Community Development released the final report for Farm to Factory: Linking NY State Producers and NY City Food Processors, an 18-month joint pilot project with the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets. The project sought to strengthen connections and develop economic opportunities for both upstate farmers and downstate businesses. You can read the report here.
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This past April, the Pratt Center and Pratt’s Initiative for Arts, Community, and Social Change launched Amplify Action: Sustainability through the Arts, a juried exhibition of work to promote dialogue on issues of neighborhood sustainability. The exhibit was on display at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation throughout the summer.
thread collective, the design studio of PSPD
instructors Elliott Maltby and Gita Nandan, celebrated the opening of Gowanus Field Stations, a new installation at BRIC Rotunda Gallery this October. The project featured “seeds” dispersed along the Gowanus Canal—points at which people could observe and engage with the canal’s human and natural systems. This past March, Carol Clark, Pratt Historic Preservation Professor and Deputy Commissioner for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, was profiled in Cityland Magazine. Read about it here. Jackie Dejama founded DetCharter.com, an independent, citizen-operated organization that educates the community on the actions take by the Detroit Charter Commission while providing a forum for citizen input. The project was featured on WDET 101.9 FM in Detroit. Listen to it here. Ms. Bejma has also submitted a book proposal about how community development policies have m CITY | Fall 2012
impacted development in Detroit over the last half century to Wayne State University Press and they’ve asked her to submit a full draft. She is currently working as the Commercial Revitalization Manager for nonprofit developer Eastside LAND, Inc.
In Memory of Elsie Richardson This past March, an extraordinary Brooklyn community leader and activist, Elsie Richardson, passed away. Elsie was a Pratt alumna and a long time friend of both PSPD and the Pratt Center for Community Development. She was instrumental in the creation of the first nonprofit Community Development Corporation in the country—the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. Elsie is sincerely missed, but her memory lives in her contributions that continue to benefit her community.
In April, UESM Adjunct Faculty members Adam Freed and Tom Jost partnered with UESM Alumni Tyler Caruso and Erik Facteau to present in
Transforming Cities: The Education Series, looking at the social, economic, and ecological impacts of the ability to feed cities.
CRP Students Behnaz Razavi and Maryam Khabbazian presented their poster on public housing’s role in the United States at the National APA Conference in Los Angeles this past April. The Construction Management Association of America Metro NY/NJ Award was presented to Construction Management students Kelsey Shaffer and Kezia Chisholm, along with a summer internship. Kelsey spent the summer interning for Holt Construction and Kezia for Gilbane Construction.
Eddie Bautista, PSPD Instructor and NYCEJA
Executive Director, was recognized with the 2012 Earth Day NY Excellence in Environmental Advocacy Award, presented by Earth Day New York and the Natural Resources Defense Council in April, 2012. Eddie was also honored at the St. Nick’s Alliance 37th Anniversary Celebration and Annual Awards Benefit for his devotion to making New York City a better place to live through environmental advocacy and community organizing.
Caron Altas, Director of Arts and Democracy
Project, collaborated with the Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts Working Group and Urban Bush Women to present a series of workshops on cultural organizing for community change this August. Workshops focused on mural making, music and dance performance, participatory action research, and peer consulting. Learn more here.
Source: Brooklyn Historical Society
Dr. Mindy Fullilove, who will be joining PSPD and Crafts—HDK of Gothenburg University. Funded to teach a course on the mental and physical health impacts of urban form, has been elected the Public Director of the American Institute of Architects. Dr. Fullilove is a social psychiatrist who studies the social, economic, and physical effects of residential segregation, blending health, sociology, architecture, and planning in her work.
Pratt Instructor Petra Todorovich Messick has just begun a new position with Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Investment Development division. PSPD wishes Petra all the best in this new chapter! The APA Metro New York Chapter’s Meritorious Service or Achievement Award was presented to Active Design Guidelines, developed by four PSPD Instructors: David Burney, Dr. Karen Lee, Mike Flynn, and Ernie Hutton. Active Design Guidelines outlines creative ways to promote physical activity and health through design. Find the guidelines here. PSPD instructor Evren Uzer, who is active with the Green Infrastructure Project, will take on a post doctorate position at the School of Design
by Heritage Studies Group, the project will involve research into the development of micro-urban strategies for heritage studies. PSPD instructor Michael Haggerty and Indonesia-based planning and design group Solo Kota Kita have received the SEED Award for Excellence in Public Interest Design, presented by Design Corps and Social Economic Environmental Design Network. The project, Firm Foundation, is a participatory design initiative with the aim of reducing water-related vulnerability in riverfront settlements in Banjarmasin, Indonesia. Solo Kota Kita organized a series of planning workshops this summer which led to the design of a new public space on the water. The design includes gathering areas for children, functional spaces for women, fishermen and boats, a reconstructed boardwalk, and a reestablished boat landing. Solo Kota Kita is working in partnership with a local communitydriven development program known as PNPM and received design support from AECOM’s UrbanSOS program. Next March, Michael will present the project at the Structures for Inclusion conference at University of Minnesota College of Design. Team credits can be found here.
Firm Foundation will create a new public space on the Martapura River in Banjarmasin, Indonesia.
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Alumni Accomplishments Anusha Venkataraman, ’10 CRP, was a Aline Fader, ’12 CRP, Scott Grimm-Lyon, Mayank and Lorena Teotia recently estabcontributing editor (along with Ron Shiffman, Ana ’11 CRP, and Alex Sommer have launched a lished Blue-Quantum a facilities management Fisyak and others from the Pratt community) to the new book Beyond Zuccotti Park: Freedom of Assembly and the Occupation of Public Space. Beyond Zuccotti Park and the ongoing associate panel discussions in New York ask urban planners, activists, artists, and scholars to take a hard look at public space freedoms and democracy in the wake of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Ms. Venkataraman currently works as the Green Light District Assistant Director at El Puente.
new blog called PlaN Your City. This blog aims to share information, create dialogues and facilitate an exchange of ideas about urbanism and planning. Ms. Fader and Mr. Sommer currently work as City Planners at the New York City Department of City Planning, Borough of Brooklyn Office, and Mr. Grimm-Lyon is an urban and regional planner in Brooklyn and Long Island, most recently working for the New Economics Institute.
Vlada Kenniff, ’07 CRP, is currently working as Lee Koppelman, one of the first generation of the Demand Management Lead on the exciting planners to graduate from Pratt nearly five decades ago, has been awarded the APA Metro New York Chapter’s Lawrence M. Orton Award for leadership in city and regional planning. Lee is recognized for his influential role in planning on Long Island.
Melissa Umberger, ’12 CRP, received the 2012
APA New York Metro Chapter Outstanding Student Award. The honor is given to outstanding students at the four planning schools in New York City. Ms. Umberger is currently working as the Project Manger/Urban Planner, for Friends of Brooklyn Community Board Six, Inc.
Lacey Tauber, ’12 CRP, ’07 HP, was recently
named Interim Academic Coordinator of the Pratt Historic Preservation Program. In this role, Ms. Tauber will handle the administrative needs of the Historic Preservation program, as well as oversee the Program Evaluation Committee, which will review and evaluate the program in anticipation of future leadership. In addition, Ms. Tauber recently completed a thesis on participatory budgeting and served as a member of the research team for the first year of Participatory Budgeting in New York City, helping to inform the report, A People’s Budget: A Research and Evaluation Report on the Pilot Year of Participatory Budgeting in New York City.
Water for the Future Program, which looks to repair the leak in the Roundout-West Branch of the Delaware Aqueduct, and reduce water usage citywide by five percent in time for the repair by the year 2020. Ms. Kenniff is the Managing Director of the Planning, Projections, and Demand Management unit at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection.
Gunnar Hand, ’06 CRP, was elected to the
Kansas City Public Schools Board and has most recently served as a board member for the Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance as well as the Kansas City Neighborhood Advisory Council. Mr. Hand is currently President of MOCK Studio, LLC.
Justin Kray, ’07 CRP, and the City of New Orleans recently received the 2012 Bright Idea in Government award given by Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government for his work on blight reduction strategies in New Orleans. Mr. Kray runs BlightStat: a monthly public performance management meeting that tracks the City’s progress towards the Mayor’s stated goal of remediating 10,000 properties by 2014. Mr. Kray currently works as the Design & Technology Lead and the City of New Orleans Office of Performance and Accountability.
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and green building consultancy firm striving to make businesses and residences sustainable and efficient. Services provided by Blue-Quantum: Space and Facilities Management, Interior Design, Real Estate services, LEED Consultancy, Energy Efficient Design, Water Management and Waste Management for residential, commercial and industrial clients; Corporate Sustainability is also offered. Lorena Teotia has a Masters degree from Pratt Institute in Facilities Management and is currently working as a Facilities Administrator at St. Nick’s Alliance. Mayank Teotia has Master’s degree from Pratt Institute in Urban Environmental Management Systems.
PPAA serves as the alumni organization for all
graduates of Pratt’s Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development. PPAA is wonderful opportunity for old and new friends to connect with one another. To best achieve this goal, we hope to host continuing professional and social events in the coming months and welcome any comments or ideas from our alumni about the kinds of events and levels of participation they would enjoy. If you would like to contribute a PSPD Bulletin announcement or have an exciting project or job you’d like to share in our Alumni Spotlight, we welcome and appreciate your suggestions! One of our most immediate goals is to reach out and connect with as many alumni as possible; but to do this we must have the most accurate contact information for our graduates. If you know of anyone who is not receiving our monthly Bulletin or would like to provide us with preferred contact information, please email Anna Peccianti and Ryan Cunningham, the Co-Chairs or PPAA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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