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designing FOR AN equitable NEW YORK PARSONS THE NEW SCHOOL FOR DESIGN 2014

PARSONS SCHOOL OF DESIGN


This policy recommendation book was written, designed and developed by the graduate students in Design & Urban Ecologies, Theories of Urban Practice, and Design Studies Programs at Parsons The New School for Design, Fall 2013, New York City.


Many Thanks We would like to extend thanks to the following New Yorkers for sharing the insights and expertise that helped craft this policy book: William Morrish, Professor, Parsons The New School for Design Devin Balkind, Sarapis

Dr. Thomas Farley, Commissioner, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

Nicole Gelinas, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute, Contributing Editor, City Journal

Sean I. Robin, MCP, Director, Built Environment & Healthy Housing, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

Noah Budnick, Transportation Alternatives

Stephanie Kneeshaw-Price, MS, PhD, Healthy CUNY Research Director

Walter Hook, executive director, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy

Jennifer So Godzeno, MSUP, MPH, Planning Director, Transportation Alternatives

Sakiko Sugawa, Organizer and Media Activist, Social Kitchen, 21st Century Social and Cultural Center, Kyoto, Japan

Mary Beth Kelly, MSW, Livable Streets Advocate

Daniel A. Zarrilli, PE, Director of Resiliency, City of New York Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson Jake Dobkin, Publisher, Gothamist Warren St. John, Author and Journalist Miodrag Mitrasinović, Associate Professor, Parsons The New School for Design Sara Bissen, MA International Affairs, The New School for Public Engagement Jacqueline Klopp, Associate Research Scholar, Center for Sustainable Urban Development at Columbia University

Tom Angotti, Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning, Hunter College Frederick Harris, Executive Vice President - Development, NYCHA John Kaehny, Reinvent Albany Frank Hebbert, Open Plans Michael Freedman-Schnap, Office of Council member Brad Lander, City agencies: DOITT Adrian Benepe, NYC Parks Department Holly Leicht, New Yorkers for Parks


Designing an Equitable New York City

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“Cities as repositories of institutions, associations, public spaces and social vitality seem perfect places for participatory democracy. They are the sites of everyday participation [and] intermingling with others...” – Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift

Dear Mayor-Elect de Blasio, The 2013 mayoral election marks a distinct moment in New York City history: a voice has been given to those historically marginalized by inequality. While Manhattan-centric administrations have perpetuated rampant, uneven development throughout the boroughs in years past, the de Blasio campaign has paid careful attention to issues of inequality, highlighting health care and tax reform as potential leveraging points for equity. While these are significant and necessary components of increasing equality, another vast resource of potential awaits – the relationship between the spatial layout of the city and it’s inhabitants. As urbanists and designers, we believe innovative design solutions should be at the forefront of the process towards achieving an equitable, unified New York.

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The policy recommendations presented here are multi-faceted tools, which will educate, empower, and equalize the populace. Each proposal is firmly focused on local, neighborhood-scale interventions with the potential to be replicated. Implementation of these tools will create a significant impact upon various strata of the public, as well as help define the role of the urban imaginary for the future of this city.

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Inclusionary design creates opportunities for transformation across the urban environment. We have seen this potential for spaces to become increasingly inclusive throughout the city from the community growing around The High Line to the collective efforts involved in creating Corona Plaza. These models should be celebrated as spaces where the practice of citizenship can flourish and bring individuals together to establish relations of reciprocity and solidarity. We must embrace and nourish both the formal and informal networks of human capacity while constructing the future of New York City. The design solutions that follow seek to harness the energy of the public. Enlivening the disengaged citizen through the production of public space and reshaping the existing infrastructure of New York will, in turn enhance resiliency and equality throughout marginalized spaces. From green space to participatory budgeting we hope to provide design solutions that will permeate social relations, while providing equal ground for every citizen to stand on.

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These design proposals recognize that the grand future of New York City is not sweeping politics, but rather people focused initiatives. We share with you an aspiration for the creation and continuation of “One New York, Rising Together.” We believe the narrative of our city can be a stronger more equitable New York through innovative and inclusive actions. Urban Practitioners and New Yorkers Urban Colloquium | December 2013 Parsons The New School for Design  


CONTENTS The common world is what we enter when we are born and what we leave behind when we die. It transcends our lifespan into past and future alike; it was there before we came and will outlast our brief sojourn in it. It is what we have in common not only with those who live with us, but also with those who were here before and with those who will come after us.” – Hannah Arendt

INTRODUCTION

Designing an Equitable New York City

STREET SAFETY & SENIOR CITIZENS 01 | Safe Streets as Public Space: Queens Boulevard, p.14

ALTERNATIVE SPACES FOR YOUTH EDUCATION

02 | Vision Zero: Start with Our Children, p.18 03 | Public Schools as a Micro-Ecology of Community, p.20 04 | Reimagining the Classroom in Vacant Lots: Classrooms 4 Community, p.22

DEVELOPING MORE RESILIENT COMMUNITIES

05 | Promoting Inclusive Urban Development: Creating and Enforcing Strong CBAs, p.28 06 | Building Resilience Through New York Public Libraries, p.30

This book is written and designed by Rehanna Azimi, Monique Baena-Tan, Aran Baker, Larissa Begault, Julia Borowicz, Rania Dalloul, Raquel DeAnda, Marcea Decker, Renae Diggs, Yana Dimitrova, Anne Duquennois,  Nadia Elokdah, Nora Elmarzouky, Santiago Giraldo Anduaga, Samantha Graebner, Katherine Horstmann, Devorah Katz,  Day Le, Kyunghoo Lee, Luis Macias, Sara Minard, Ronald Morrison, Lindsay Reichart, Freddriguez Rucker, Dagny Tucker, Katerina Vaseva, William Wynne, Marco Zelaya Urban Colloquium | December 2013 Professors: Paul White, Shin-pei Tsay With Anze Zadel and Themistoklis Pellas Copyright 2013 by Parsons Urban Design, etc.

HOUSING LOW-INCOME NEW YORKERS 07 | Fixing NYCHA’s Maintenance Program, p.34 08 | Making Affordable Housing Affordable, p.36


STREET SAFETY AND SENIOR CITIZENS

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01 Safe Streets as Public Space: Queens Boulevard There is an urgent need to improve the street design of Queens Boulevard in order to increase pedestrian safety, particularly for the large senior and retired population, thereby developing a stronger community network for the citizens of adjacent neighborhoods.

“Four years from now, millions of New Yorkers, from Co-Op City to the neighborhoods along Queens Boulevard, should have safe and livable streets. We should expect that in 2017, when people talk about a typical New York City residential neighborhood, they’ll be thinking of one with 20 MPH zones, Play Streets, and bustling, people-oriented commercial corridors that boost local economic activity.” - Paul Steely White

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Problem New York City is comprised of more than 6,000 miles of streets which make up 80% of the city’s public space. Queens Boulevard, often referred to as “Death Boulevard” by its residents, is considered one of the most dangerous streets in NYC. This site cannot function as a successful public space due to poor street design. The ten–lane crossway is especially dangerous for local elderly residents and prevents local neighborhoods from interacting.

Moving Forward. Out of 67% of all voters surveyed, 65% of voters who own cars, said they support “bringing protected bike lanes and pedestrian islands” to their neighborhoods [3].

A similar strategy should be adopted for redesigning Queens Boulevard, with the support of City Council Members and the New York City Department of Transportation. Enhancing the Ocean Parkway model, is an opportunity to incorporate aspects of public art to increase the “sit-a-bility” of Queens Boulevard and facilitate community interaction. Thus this should be considered by the Department of Cultural Affairs as a large canvas for representing the diverse communities throughout the Queens borough.

Equity / Community Building / Resiliency The street serves as a channel to connect the larger boroughs of NYC through vehicle transportation, but does not serve the people within the communities that surround the area. The wide street design and narrow sidewalks do not allow Queens neighborhoods along the boulevard to engage and connect with each other. The current street design places pedestrians in close proximity to vehicles moving at high speeds, where traffic signals and speed limit signs are often overlooked. Due to the multiple lanes, elderly residents often have difficulty crossing in the time allotted. Recommendation • Following through on Mayor-Elect de Blasio’s campaign pledge is to “improve quality of life and reduce traffic fatalities by bringing safe streets to all of New York’s 400 neighborhoods” [1]. • Safety improvements throughout the city will result in “thousands of injuries prevented, and hundreds of lives saved. For Queens Boulevard, this would mean an inclusive and safe environment for many seniors and long-time residents of the area” [2]. • The next DOT commissioner will oversee plans to improve at least 50 dangerous traffic corridors and intersections every year. Specifically, de Blasio says, that would mean “narrowing excessively wide streets that encourage reckless passing and speeding, widening sidewalks and medians to make streets easier and safer to cross, and adding dedicated bicycle infrastructure to create a safe space for New Yorkers on bikes” [2]. Phase 1: Safety in Street Design Addressing issues of traffic safety within the built environment by: • Narrowing traffic lanes to provide pedestrian islands, • Protecting pedestrian islands with landscaping and raised barriers, • Including bike lanes which will slow down traffic, shorten crossing distances for elderly and promote an alternative form of transportation, • Encouraging the sit-a-bility of streets by adding street furniture, public art, and creating safe environments for eating, sitting and interacting with others.

Implementation Ocean Parkway, another major thoroughfare in Brooklyn, has recently received several safety improvements including: increases in street furniture, introduction of pedestrian islands, and narrower traffic lanes, which inherently reduce vehicle speed. This project was funded through a participatory budgeting process under City Council member Brad Lander. Final approval and implementation of the improvements were overseen by the New York City Department of Transportation.

References [1] www.billdeblasio.com [2] www.streetsblog.org [3] www.transalt.org

Crossing at Queens Boulevard. Traffic is the number one cause of preventable deaths for children under 12, but is the leading cause of injury death for people over 65. Seniors make up only 12% of the city’s population but account for 38% of pedestrian deaths [2].

Queens Boulevard 1 out of 3 likely voters surveyed by Transportation Alternatives have been seriously injured in a traffic crash or have known someone who has been seriously injured or killed in a crash [3].

Phase 2: Public Art and Multi-Use Public Spaces for Community Building Providing opportunities for community engagement and serving as a platform for community building and neighborhood ownership by: • Bringing awareness to issues of pedestrian and traffic safety, • Promoting public programs that creatively engage the community with the physical space, • Reimagining sites through creative, cultural, and identity building art projects.

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DESIGNING FOR AN EQUITABLE NEW YORK

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ALTERNATIVE SPACES FOR YOUTH EDUCATION

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02 Vision Zero: Start with Our Children The most common cause of injury-related death among children is traffic fatality, with the most frequent victims being pedestrians. Bill de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” plan, which seeks to eliminate injuries and fatalities on New York City streets, can be strengthened by implementing a “Play Streets” program surrounding school zones, with a focus on educationally engaging the community about such issues.

Injuries are the most common cause of death among New York City children and youth. Being struck by a car is the most common cause of injury-related death among children 1-12 years old, and the second most common cause among those aged 13 and older [1]. The existing Play Streets program (run by the DOT and DOHMH), permits the re-purposing of residential streets, granting families access to their neighborhood block as public space. Problem The permit application process is bureaucratic and provides limited applicability due to strict regulations about the permissible locations and seasons. Currently, the implementation of a Play Street requires 51% of neighborhood’s consent as well as supplementary approval by the Community Board, [2] It must occur strictly on a one-way residential street containing no parking meters or businesses, which considerably limits its application in certain neighborhoods. While Play Streets in its current state is a functional program, more can be done to offer awareness about traffic safety and the problem of young pedestrian fatalities. Recommendation Play Streets initiatives need to be focused as a channel to encourage creative uses of public space, promoting traffic safety, and increasing outdoor activity around public schools. Using informative signage near school zones will serve to raise awareness about current and future Play Streets programs. Play Streets should be teamed up with public schools to co-create youth and community driven programs throughout the entire school year. Play Streets will promote traffic safety, outdoor activity and community engagement around public schools, where children and youth spend most of their time. To make the application and implementation processes easier, the Play Streets regulations must be relaxed. This will allow the inclusion of local businesses and non-profit organizations, and collaboration will promote their work to the public, offering children a variety of activities. According to Transportation Alternatives, Play Streets also work well in conjunction with existing farmers’ markets, promoting outdoor activity, access to public space and interaction between different communities [3].

“We need safer streets that help seniors and families with children connect with their neighborhoods.” – Bill de Blasio, Better Transit for New York City

Play Street at Schenectady Ave., Boys & Girls High School Imagining Schenectady Ave. as a Play Street and a meeting point for students, community members, local businesses and others. The collage uses materials from Google Streets and past Play Streets initiatives.

Case Study Boys and Girls High School (K-455) is the oldest public school in Brooklyn, located along Fulton Street and Utica Avenue – a major four-lane avenue and important commercial street in Brooklyn. The high school is also close to two public parks, Fulton Park and Jackie Robinson Park. Possibly due to a lack of engagement between the school and the surrounding communities, the school is currently struggling with financial problems and an overall decline in student performance [4]. Boys and Girls High School provides an effective site for a Play Streets program, bringing together students and community members to create and promote safer streets around schools. This can empower youth through participation in outdoor activities in the neighborhood. Local businesses and non-profit organizations can play an integrative role to promote awareness about traffic safety as well as reinstilling a sense of community within the neighborhood. Additionally, allowing the students to become critical agents in their own community will have a positive impact at both the psychological and academic level, inspiring them to be proactive about issues affecting their surroundings. References [1] NYC DOHMH Bureau of Vital Statistics. [2] http://www.transalt.org/files/news/reports/2010/Evaluation_of_the_Harvest_Home_Play_Street.pdf. [3] Transportation Alternatives, Play Streets: Best Practices, February 2011.[4] NYC DOE, Boys and Girls High School Progress Report Overview 2012-2013.

PLA Boy s & Y ST Girl s Hi R E gh S E T cho S ol

Boys & Girls High School, Bedford-Stuyvesant The oldest public school in Brooklyn was nicknamed “BedStuy’s pride” for its history and importance. Currently it is struggling with financial problems and decreasing overall performance due to lack of support for the school and the surrounding communities. 18

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03

Problem In 2011, a study on urban health clearly demonstrated the correlation between low income neighborhoods and their access to green spaces. The table below shows the amount of park acreage accessible to a neighborhood by quartile of neighborhood poverty. These results suggest that lower income neighborhoods have even less access to parks because negative social conditions discourage use [3].

Public Schools as a MicroEcology of Community: Restructuring Public Space for Multi-Social Use in Public Schoolyard Gardens

This issue of access to public spaces touches on multiple urban issues at different levels: the spatial, political, educational and social. These are areas in which there are opportunities for change as outlined in the following policy proposal. PlaNYC Playgrounds to Plazas Mayor Bloomberg has proposed in PlaNYC 2030 to re-purpose space by opening public schools as public plazas, but the policy has left out an element that is vital to a successful project: the experience of the community.

The lack of green space serving the community of Bed-Stuy provides the opportunity to address the spatial, political, social and educational aspects of the urban environment through opening up schoolyard gardens to the public.

Recommendation for providing more green space: To expand on the PlaNYC Schoolyards to Public Plazas Policy by increasing the number of schools to be opened publicly and utilizing schoolyards garden as green communal space.

The re-purposing of unused space into public schoolyard gardens is a key way to place the right to the city back into the hands of the community.

“Despite the city’s parkland and open space, many school children have few chances to connect to the natural world on a regular basis. Schoolyards are often fenced in and asphalt covered”

Schoolyards should be rezoned as public parks and recreation spaces when not in use by schools. Altering current zoning policies in order to address the current policies that neglect the community voice, will allow for community engagement. A new form of pedagogy will accompany the public schoolyard gardens, making them a distinct tool for learning. Out-of-Classroom learning has been shown to be a very effective, yet generally unimplemented method in public schools. Integrating gardening into the school structure as well as the greater community as an alternative learning tool will inspire youth, families, and community members to take an active role in their communal spaces.

–Grow to Learn NYC mission statement [1]

b. Poverty and park facilities, overall and after exclusion of parks with the worst crime, traffic, and noxious land usage problems: *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.001. Tests of significance are within category of adjustment, with Most Poor as the reference group. 20

3.5 Unadjusted Adjusted

3 2.5 2 1.5 1

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Unadjusted Adjusted

20

Least Poor

2

Poverty Quartile

3

Most Poor

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0

1. Map showing the wealth disparity and green spaces correlation in Bed-Stuy. $ 9,001 - $27,625 $27,626 - $38,017 $38,018 - $48,176 $48,177 - $61,020 $61,021 - $80,978 $80,979 - $163,147 Data from American Community Survey, Median Household Income 2006 - 2010

2. Map showing public school PS297 in it’s urban context and highlighting the proposed site.

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0.05 0

b. SqRt(Total Park Facilities) - by Poverty Quartile SqRt(Total Park Facilities)

a. Poverty and park acreage overall and after exclusion of parks with the worst crime, traffic, and noxious land usage problems: *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.001. Tests of significance are within category of adjustment, with Most Poor as the reference group.

a. In(Park Acres) - by Poverty Quartile

In(Park Acres)

Graphs show the disparity between low income neighborhoods and access to green space [2].

Clockwise, from top left:

Least Poor

2

Poverty Quartile

3

Most Poor

3. Schematic proposal images of the schoolyard garden at PS297 in use by the community.

Working with existing organizations and using PS297 school in Bed-Stuy as a flagship example that can be replicated throughout New York City. The policy draws from other community garden projects such as Maria Hernandez Park in Bushwick, Brooklyn; New York Permaculture Exchange in Park Slope, Brooklyn; Homegrown Security and Bodega Seed Library in Bushwick, Brooklyn and Hattie Carthan Community Garden in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. These are just a few examples among many that can further support the design, installation, structure, and care of this particular garden project located in the PS297 school yard in Bed-Stuy. Funding and Agencies Government agencies that can be involved: Parks & Recreation, Department of Education, Trust for Public Land. References [1] Grow to Learn NYC < http://growtolearn.org/view/mission_statement l>.[2] Christopher C. Weiss, Reconsidering Access: Park Facilities and Neighborhood Disamenities in New York City. J Urban Health. 2011 April; 88(2): 297–310. [3] Eshach, Haim. “Bridging In-School and Out-of-School Learning: Formal, Non-Formal, and Informal Education”. Journal of Science Education and Technology. Vol. 6(2): 2007. p. 171-190.

4. PS297 schoolyard as it is now.

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04 Reimagining the Classroom in Vacant Lots: Classrooms 4 Community Turn struggling schools around by creating experiential and vocational education programs in public high schools to offer students the chance to transform vacant lots into a shared space for surrounding community use.

“Of all the physical factors blighting the lives of inner-city residents, abandoned properties may be the single most destructive, because they affect so many other conditions, making these other challenging problems that much worse.” -National Housing Institute [2]

Problem Currently, New York City has 429.398 acres of publicly owned vacant land, most of which exist in under-served areas and outlying boroughs that, when combined, total half of Central Park [1]. Vacant lots create unsafe environments that encourage illicit activities and unhealthy lifestyles, often filling up with waste and overgrown shrubbery. Not only is this an eyesore, but it is also a waste of valuable public land. Though the potential of each lot is endless, many of these under-served communities lack effective mechanisms to transform them into usable space for community education and interactions that can be designed for the benefit of neighborhood youth, families, and senior citizens. This lack of usability exists partially because the lots are owned by different agencies, each with its own set of laws. The negative effects of these existing vacant lots increase citizen disengagement, decrease the value of our shared public realm and hinder the ability for positive community development. As pillars in their community, public schools play a key role in community building [5]. Students often attend schools within their designated zones and spend most of their days at or near campus. Families are offered various middle and high school educational choices, but spaces are limited for the highest quality schools with stringent requirements [3]. According to the NY State Education Department, “…statistics show that for students entering high school in 2008 the graduation rate was 60.9%. Additionally, rates for white students is nearly 28% points higher than the rates for black and Hispanic students.” Public education is under attack for the absence of stimulating learning environments, lack of individualization of student needs and interests, and too much pressure on standardized test assessment, which has led to a disinterest in learning. “Currently, only 23 percent of New York City high school students are prepared for college or a career. The percentage of black and Latino students prepared for college and career is abysmal, at only 13 percent” [4]. Reversing poor educational foundations can encourage stability, growth, and progress in any community. An effective means to promote engagement and to reverse the negative effects of vacant land is through the introduction of a partnership program with public schools. Recommendation 1. Transfer ownership of all vacant public lots to the NYC Parks and Recreation Department and the Department of Education 2. Implement experiential educational programs in public high schools designed to re-purpose vacant lots in a way that offers students technical skills and career readiness, while encourageing ownership in neighborhoods. Students will: - Engage surrounding communities in needs and assets assessments - Divide students into areas of interest and development - Design, plan, and build multi-modal use of the vacant space research, analysis, visualization, and communication - Ensure sustainability and long-term success of space through mainte- nance and financing activities 3. Offer incentives to community organizations, private schools, universities, and/or businesses to partner with public high schools. References [1] 596Acres. “Home Page.” Accessed November 15, 2013. www.596acres.org. [2] Mallach, Alan. National Housing Institute, “From Eyesores to Assets: CDC Abandoned Property Strategies.” Last modified 2006. Accessed November 15, 2013. http://nhi.org/online/issues/146/researchupdate.html. [3] Bell, Jessica, WNYC: New York Public Radio,“Guide: Enrolling Your Child.” Last modified 2013. Accessed November 15, 2013. http://www. wnyc.org/schoolbook/guides/enrollment/. [4] Bill DeBlasio Campaign, “Preparing Every Student for Success in College and Career.” Last modified 2013.Accessed November 15, 2013. http://www.billdeblasio.com/issues/education. [5] O’Brian, Anne. “The Importance of Community Involvement in Schools.” Edutopia. (2012). http://www.edutopia. org/blog/community-parent-involvement-essential-anne-obrien (accessed November 15, 2013).[6] Project H Design, “Programs: Studio H.” Accessed November 15, 2013. http://www.projecthdesign.org/programs/studio/

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Implementation 1. Recognize empty lots as documented by 596 Acres, many of which already have community interest or programs. 2. Transfer ownership of most vacant public lots to the NYC Parks and Recreation Department, and those in close proximity to public schools over to the Department of Education for ease in transforming vacant lots. 3. Select alternative curricula to offer public high schools to implement such as experiential performance based program. One such successful program is Project H Design [6]. 4. Work with NYC Department of Education to help these schools facilitate and develop sustainable, multi-modal use of space as a model for future repurposing. 5. Choose schools based on proximity to vacant spaces, drop out rates, and overall school ratings. The chart on the following page identifies potential high schools and nearby lots to be the first to implement this program in four under-served areas. 6. Provide incentives, such as tax breaks and recognition to community organizations, private schools, universities, and/or businesses who are willing to offer intellectual, material, and financial resources to ensure program effectiveness and build bridges between communities.

(clockwise) Image 1: provided by 596 Acres Students working collaboratively on construction and beautification of community garden. Image 2: provided by Project H Design, The first Project H class in Berkeley was asked to build a project to benefit their community. In need of additional classroom space, students built a classroom for all students to use. Students used three standard shipping containers as their starting point, then space-planned and modified them to create an open-plan classroom and courtyard with a raised roof letting in ample natural light. Using torches, welders, grinders, and a full woodshop, students learned an array of construction tools and techniques while building a new learning environment for their classmates.

Image 3: provided by Project H Design, “High school students built two 100-square-foot roadside farmstands (one by the girls, one by the boys in a design/build “battle of the sexes”), [6] which were installed in outlying town centers of Bertie County, NC for use by any and all to sell locally-grown produce.”

PARSONS THE NEW SCHOOL FOR DESIGN

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Through  cconducting onducting  research   on  potential   high  schools,   the  schools, following  hthe ave  bfollowing een  identified   as  schools   Through research on potential high have been that   could  pilot  this  initiative.     identified as school that could pilot this initiative   Borough Bronx

School

Alfred E. Smith Vocational High School 333 East 151st Street Bronx, NY 10451

Brooklyn

Academy of Urban Planning High School 400 Irving Ave Brooklyn, NY 11237

Manhattan

Queens

Vacant Lot

Bronx block 2363, lot 1 503 East 153 Street 10455 0.164 acres

Brooklyn block 3245, lot 39 143 Stockholm Street 11221 0.115 acres

Harlem Renaissance High School

Manhattan block 1790, lot 45

22 E 128th St New York, NY 10035

206 East 126 Street 10035

Queens High School for Information, Research and Technology

Community Interest

City Agency

Green Generations

Housing Preservation and Development

http://www.greengenerations.org/ 516-754-7822 info@greengenerations.com

Contact: Ted Weinstein 212-863-6279

Note: We believe in a new educational paradigm that embodies a holistic approach to teaching and views everyone in their wholeness: mind, body, feelings, soul, and imagination.

http://596acres.org/en/lot/202 3630001/

Xquizit Greens

NY Police Department

143 Stockholm 425-387-5250 xquizitgreens@gmail.com

Contact: Jamie Kani, Facilities Management Division 646-610-7650 Jamie.kani@nypd.org

Note: An urban garden dedicated to serving Bushwick through Education, Empowerment and the Enrichment of Urban Space. Open to all members of the neighborhood, Xquizit Greens aims both to strengthen community and cultivate healthy localized economies through skill shares, arts programming, seed saving composting and up-cycling. It is a positive social gathering point and greening action hub. No expressed community interest for this lot.

http://596acres.org/en/lot/303 2450039/

Housing Preservation and Development

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One of the students said, “Studio H has changed the way I approach life. I have learned that no matter what the challenge, to never underestimate what is possible. With these new lessons I can make my future what I want it to be, not what someone else wants it to be.”

Image 2: provided by 596 Acres, adjacent map demonstrates all public vacant lots as documented by 596 Acres • Green spots indicate all the public vacant lots • Yellow circles around the green spots indicate public vacant lots with community organization • Pink spots indicate public vacant lots to which the community has gained access

212-863-6275

0.126 acres Queens block 15834, lots 38, 42

http://596acres.org/en/lot/101 7900045/ Keisha Frazier

Housing Preservation and Development

KFrazier89@gmail.com

357 Beach 43

Http://596acres.org/en/lot/415 8340042/

POLICY 04

Image 3: The total amount of public vacant space is equal to half of Central Park as highlighted in red in this map. Image 4: provided by Studio H Students building their researched and planned idea for a farmers market stand for a public space in Bertie County, NC

0.059 acres

821 Bay 25th St Far Rockaway, NY 11691

     

Image 1 provided by Studio H: Students designing and planning their project ideas for the Windsor Market in Bertie County, NC.

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05 Promoting Inclusive Urban Development: Creating and Enforcing Strong Community Benefits Agreements Major real estate developments in New York City exclude essential stakeholders from the design process. A Community Benefits Agreement offers a platform for negotiations, however existing CBAs are often not representative of the community at large.

“Leveraging local assets to foster a communityoriented wellness and recreation hub that serves as a model for coastal, environmental, economic, and social resilience.” - from “Planning for a Resilient Rockaways: A strategic Planning Framework for Arverne East’ by RWA [3]

Case Study – Problem Far Rockaway is arguably one of New York’s most neglected neighborhoods. Although once a vibrant beach community, many of the historic bungalows in the neighborhood were razed in the 1950’s, paving the way for urban renewal initiatives, which included the construction of high rise towers. For decades, no commercial development has taken place in this isolated area, which now faces high rates of physical degradation, unemployment, poverty, and crime [1]. Arverne East is eighty acres of land in the Rockaways that has remained vacant since the 1970s, which is now the city’s largest tract of unused land. Under Mayor Bloomberg, this site was recognized as a development opportunity, yet the disaster of Hurricane Sandy exposed the deep social, economic and environmental vulnerability due to its long history of neglect [2]. Case Study – Response Rockaway Waterfront Alliance (RWA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting the local community with the waterfront through understanding and respecting its natural ecologies. In 2012 RWA collaborated with NYU Wagner Graduate students to produce a comprehensive study on inclusive urban planning, which was called the Planning for a Resilient Rockaways: A Strategic Planning Framework for Arverne East. The team conducted fieldwork and research working with a wide range of stakeholders in the Rockaways, then established best practices for integrated coastal management, and developed a framework for inclusive future development [1]. The results of this report led to Far Roc, an innovative design competition for inclusionary planning in Arverne East that united city agencies, developers and residents. Recommendation–Putting ‘Community’ in CBAs Mayor Bloomberg profoundly changed New York City’s landscape, focusing attention on rezoning and encouraging development along the waterfront, specifically focusing on plans for resiliency [3]. The responsibility of the next mayor is to ensure that city agencies work together with the residents and developers to create inclusive Community Benefit Agreements that aim to address the diverse needs of the constituency. • Developers must establish a physical space to present all plans for any major developments, prior to drafting a Community Benefits Agreement. This space will serve as a hub for community members to learn about the project and to engage in an open, inclusive and transparent dialogue with developers and city representatives throughout the planning process.   • City agencies and developers must provide evidence of quality engagement with a diverse and representative group of stakeholders throughout the duration of any planned project. An effective CBA will address community needs such as: affordable housing, funding for community organizations / programs, job production, resilient building practices, benefits for existing residents, transportation improvements, access to public space, youth engagement, and providing necessary public services to the area. References [1] http://www.rwalliance.org/rwa/projects/arverne_east_strategic_planning/arverne_east_planning_report:en-us.pdf [2] http://home2.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/pr2006/pr-11-09-06.shtml [3] http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/ html/developers/large-scale-arverne.shtm

Image 1: Arverne East Site Through our own outreach in Arverne East, we identified the following main concerns of residents: • lack of activities and employment opportunities for local youth • shortage of local commercial and economic enterprise • a need for affordable housing • a need for improved transportation • access to public space

“This is a moment in time… there is momentum behind the Rockaways, we should take advantage of that time and not get caught up in the weeds.” –Ron Moelis, CEO & Chairman L+M Development Partners

Image 2: Local resident “I hope that as a community, we can learn the value of preserved, untouched land; that we can understand how natural spaces are beneficial to our health and increase our quality of life when we utilize our natural environment.” - Zhakia Grant, Educator & Resident of Arverne-by-the-Sea

Image 3: Local Resident “I would not like to see high rise there…if you put that up there you kill all the views. I would like to see two-family or three-family houses going in and some commercial space, and of course a park.” - Harold Rosario, Resident of Far Rockaway

Image 4: Local Resident “If they are trying to develop they should have a development there for shops, and all the kids can get jobs, they can develop the area like a city and all the money stays in the Rockaways…every time you want something you have to go the Five Towns.” - Agatha Duke, Resident of Far Rockaway

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06

Problem New York City residents lack access to walkable, safe spaces that can be counted on in times of crisis. Such spaces play an integral role in the everyday life of the neighborhood. Recommendation Bolster neighborhood branch libraries to serve as hubs that strengthen the community everyday and act as disaster relief centers in times of need. Libraries offer an ideal opportunity to address a multi-faceted focus on resilience and preparedness in neighborhoods through green and resilient retrofits and community-based disaster preparedness. Expand the libraries ability to play an integral role everyday, during disaster and post-disaster.

Resilient Communities Start with the Neighborhood Library The means to achieving a more equitable city that is simultaneously safe and more resilient can be found within each neighborhood. With relatively modest changes and budget implications branch libraries can be bolstered – through increasing and diversifying offerings­– to not only improve our daily lives, foster vibrant communities, and provide needed resources, but also to serve as safe havens in times of disaster and as disaster resource centers after an event.

Libraries draw a diverse network of users (over 15 million in 1999 [1] ) – toddlers to teenagers, working parents, senior citizens, the unemployed, new immigrants, and traditional readers – and offer a turn–key opportunity to increase and diversify services that improve quality of life while fostering community vitality. Our libraries are already facilitating key pieces of the puzzle that contribute to shaping healthy and able children and adults. Increasing the flow of community members will increase neighborhood networks everyday – both across the community and specifically within the library- thus making the space an obvious choice in the greatest times of need. This point is crucial as Eric Klinenberg has demonstrated – it is community strength (neighborhood networks and ties) that actually protect us in times of disaster [2]. Such a network not only improves daily life but also allows for the library system to serve as a relief node in disasters, as demonstrated in the diagrams. Utilizing the inherent qualities of the library as repository of services and neighborhood resources, creates a nexus of services that fundamentally strengthen a community. Such a network not only improves daily life but also allows the library system to serve as a relief node in disasters, as demonstrated in the User Diagram below.

“This would benefit us – and it would benefit the public. It’s a win–win situation.”

Implementation Agencies could implement programs already tied to their overall mission. Libraries themselves would benefit through increase of available programing and green building improvements. Process: Identify pilot libraries; choose and partner with primary agencies; allocate funding from within those agency budgets for programs; conduct library staff surveys and neighborhood outreach to identify resource needs; roll-out new programs and build retrofits; and finally monitor impact.

–Maribel Rodriguez, Children’s Librarian, Red Hook Library

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Several agencies would benefit from partnering with libraries Office of Emergency Management, Department of Youth and Community Development, Department for the Aging, Office of Immigrant Affairs

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Left: Map showing the new FEMA flood zones and walking accessibility to a library within a 0.5mile radius (source FEMA and NYC data).

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Right: User diagram exemplifying the inherent functioning of the library as center of community, serving a wide patronage. Includes children, elderly, single parents, unemployed residents, immigrants, the homeless, etc.

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Fig.2 Library during disaster

Above, Fig.1: Library strengthening community everyday Welcoming a diverse patronage, providing legal services, adult language training, resources for the homeless, integrating toy-lending into library collection to enhance early childhood development, and acting as senior center for gathering and education.

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Fig.1 Library everyday

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Above, Fig. 2: Library during disasters Serving as a safe haven, organizing hub, providing meals, receiving donations, and mobilizing volunteers. Post Disaster: Connects community to post–disaster relief services. Green and Resilient Retrofits includes safeguarding utilities, integrating renewable energy sources outfitted with: kitchens, back-up generators, movable library stacks and partitions, and wireless mesh networks. Agency and funding for Green RetrofitsSpecial Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (City Agency Resiliency Needs—First Phase $500 million [3])

Red Hook: A Success Story A prime example of a library’s potential for success can be found in the Red Hook Library, which became a defacto center of resilience during Superstorm Sandy and its aftermath. “We were a safe haven,” describes Sandra Sutton, supervising librarian, “the only place that was open and had power during the storm.” The library functioned as a central hub: part warming center, distribution center, cell-phone charging station, a place to socialize, and a place to feel safe – residents brought and shared food, sipped hot coffee, FEMA delivered supplies and blankets, etc. The library’s open and flexible floor plan proved immensely beneficial in this time of need, as spaces were adaptable serving different community needs as they became apparent. The head librarian recognizes the changing role of the library as a multifaceted community resource and affirms the need for inherent adaptability. She says, “People see we are about books, but we are more than books, we are also about helping people grow, helping empower them.” References [1] http://legacy.www.nypl.org/pr/stats99.cfm, {2} Kimmelman, Michael. “Next Time, Libraries Could be Our Shelters From the Storm,” The New York Times, October 2, 2013. [3] City of New York. “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” Plan NYC (402).

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HOUSING LOW INCOME NEW YORKERS

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07 Fixing NYCHA’s Maintenance Program Engaging tenant participation to execute maintenance and repairs, preserving public housing developments.

“I’ve called several times to ask about the repairs,” said Ms. Davis-Night. “The last time, I was told that I could not request a new ticket because the ticket from May 2010 is still open. Meanwhile, I am still living with mold and mildew. I now have a respiratory infection and I am worried that the conditions are beginning to affect my 21-year-old son.”

Problem New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has historically lacked the capacity to maintain adequate living conditions for its tenants. At the opening of this year there were 422,639 backlogged requests leaving residents waiting an average of 263 days to see repairs made ranging from electrical malfunctions to broken locks [1]. Given the mayor-elect’s focus on building more affordable housing, it seems abundantly clear that equal attention also needs to be paid to maintaining our already existing public housing [2]. Recommendation Provide NYCHA tenants with the technical and administrative training to participate in the identification, prioritization, and coordination of repair activities to improve living conditions within public housing. 1. Invest in Community Autonomy over Bureaucracy NYCHA has recently spent $40M to hire an additional 1,200 employees to support the overall work order reduction plan with the hopes of reaching a target of 90,000 backlogged orders by the close of the year [2-3]. This target is based on a 7-15 day response time, though current response times range between 83-191 days [1]. At this pace, NYCHA’s current maintenance system can only be sustained by costly spending and additional hires. 2. Develop Tenant Groups as a Resource Tenant participation has been shown to improve the overall management of a property in quality, cost-effectiveness, and ensured affordability [4]. Tenant participation has also been linked to creating community and social support systems on-site, empowering residents individually and collectively, and providing the opportunity to build marketable skills. Overall, these benefits yield a higher social mobility towards homeownership and reduce occupancy stresses on public housing [4-5].

“The intervention philosophy is based on the identification and maximization of the abilities in the communities themselves. This focus requires us to count on the commitment from the main community leaders and this commitment is only reached generating a feeling of trust with them” - Fundacion Carvajal, Non-profit organization

Pilot Program Site: Farragut Houses Located in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, The Farragut houses make up 1,390 units. There are currently 2,803 outstanding repair requests with an average wait time of 362 days [7]. Non-profit Partner: Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE) is a Brooklyn-based multiracial organization that organizes low-income families to make systemic changes to ensure economic equality and promote decision making. FUREE has worked extensively with Farragut residents to address maintenance issues in their homes and continues to maintain those relationships [8]. Length of Program: 2 year comparative analysis outlining strengths and weaknesses of resident participation in NYCHA management. The proposed solution emerged from the review of various HUD case studies in the United States and federal programs that involved community in the construction and preservation of affordable housing in Latin America [4-6].

References [1] “NYCHA Maintenance and Repair Action Backlog,” Accessed November 25th 2013. http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycha/html/news/maintenance-and-repair-backlog-action-plan.shtml [2]“Safe Affordable Homes for All New Yorkers,” Accessed November 25th 2013. http://www.billdeblasio.com/issues/affordable-housing [3] Mays, Jeff. “NYCHA Will Eliminate Backlog of 420,000 Repairs By End of 2013, Mayor Says.” DNAinfo New York, January 31, 2013. Accessed November 25th 2013. http://www.dnainfo. com/new-york/20130131/central-harlem/nycha-will-eliminate-backlog-of-420000-repairs-by-end-of-2013-mayor-says [4] Gray, Deb Goldgerb. “Resident Participation in Affordable Housing Preservation Projects: What Works?” (PhD diss., University of California Center for Cooperatives, 2000) [5] “Vivienda con Participación Comunitaria. Alta Consejería para la Reintegración Presidencia de la República de Colombia - Alcaldía de Santiago de Cali - Fundación Carvajal - USAID” (U.S Agency for International Development). http://www.fundacioncarvajal.org.co/ [6] “Echale a tu Casa Project. Echale Foundation - Ashoka Fellow”. http://www.echale.com.mx [7] “NYCHA Watchlist: Tracking Repairs in New York Public Housing Website.” Accessed on Nov 25, 2013. http://nychawatchlist.com [8] Fraser, Lisa. “Brooklyn Tenants Take NYCHA to Court.” Brooklyn Downtown Star, March 6th, 2012. Accessed November 25th 2013. http://brooklyndowntownstar.com/view/full_story/17759402/article-Brooklyn-tenants-take-NYCHA-to-court-?instance=

3. Establish a 3rd Party non-profit Partnership Best practices call for the creation of a partnership between tenants and a third party housing non-profit to connect and manage resources for the community through technical and administrative training [4-5].

–Sharon Davis-Knight, NYCHA Tenant

Figure 1 (left side): Most common backlogged repair requests for the Farrgut Houses Development. (data from NYCHA Watchlist) [7] Figure 2 (right side): Proposed organizational map outlining methodology for tenant participation.

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08 Making Affordable Housing Affordable New York has two main issues regarding affordable housing: 1. the creation of new affordable units and 2. establishing rents for new units that are actually “affordable” to the average New Yorker. The New Housing Marketplace has done a great job in producing new units, but rent for these units is above what is equitably affordable.

Problem New York is stuck between a rock and a hard place when developing the rents for affordable housing. Two-thirds of the City’s residents are unable to afford the current units created by the New Housing Marketplace because affordability is determined by the Area Median Income (AMI) that the Department of Housing and Urban Development administers [1]. The current AMI includes not only New York City, but also Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties [2]. These two areas outside of the city have markedly higher average income levels compared to the city. Additionally, the high-income census tracts of the Upper East Side and the AMI is disproportionate to the actual income levels of those most in need of affordable units [3].

5,253,892 – the estimated population who currently are unable to afford the current units created by the New Housing Marketplace.

How can the city provide affordable units that are reflective of the actual income levels within the city, while also providing federal funding to offset the costs of developing such units? The most important step to reflect the actual income levels within the city, while also ensuring federal funding to offset the cost of developing such units, is to highlight the need for more affordable housing. According to the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD), one-third of New Yorkers earn an income that is at or below 40% of the AMI. These families are also the most in need for affordable units. The NHMP has only created 7.9% new units that are accessible to this specific demographic [4]. Not only are these units minimal in quantity, but many of these units are already too expensive for many of the families within the bracket. Recommendation The city should practice AMI spreading in order to address the immediate affordability issues with NYCHA units, and then begin to work towards changing the federal AMI definitions.

“The New Housing Marketplace’s weaknesses are not in the number of units created – they are in how well these units match the real affordability needs of New York City communities.” – Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development

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This is not an easy problem to solve, but an estimated 5.2 million people are affected by this disparity. The city needs to reduce the complexities involved when developing affordable housing. There are numerous programs involved in addressing the housing crisis the city and the nation face today, but the city cannot just produce housing. It must be housing that is reflective of the demographics and needs of the communities in which development is taking place. New York has the largest housing authority in the country, and because of that, stands to make a great impression across the nation, should it begin to change the way it works, in hopes of becoming more equitable for the future. References [1] Association for Neighborhood Development, “Real Affordability: An Evaluation of the Bloomberg Housing Program and Recommendations to Strengthen Affordable Housing Policy,” p.2 [2] Association for Neighborhood Development, “Real Affordability: An Evaluation of the Bloomberg Housing Program and Recommendations to Strengthen Affordable Housing Policy,” p.27 [3] United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey 1-year data for 2010 [4] Association for Neighborhood Development, “Real Affordability: An Evaluation of the Bloomberg Housing Program and Recommendations to Strengthen Affordable Housing Policy,” p.21 [5] The City of New York, “PlaNYC2030: Housing and Neighborhoods.” http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc2030/html/theplan/housing.shtml.

The map below shows the areas of the city with the highest and lowest median income levels. This highlights the disparity between the city’s median income area and the median income levels on a neighborhood scale.

ANHD recommends using a method of AMI spreading where the development is not bound to satisfy one percentage of AMI, but multiple ratios. If some of the units created specifically address those most in need, then the city makes a dent in the affordability crisis it now faces. For example, in one housing development a portion of the new units would be available specifically for those making up to 40% of the AMI, but the other new units could be dispersed among higher proportions of AMI, like families making up to 80% AMI. This allows the city to focus on developing housing units for all types of families in need, and doesn’t restrict the units to one category. This solution also allows the city to offset creating units at much lower prices from rising construction costs. The city should partner with ANHD in hopes of recognizing the true need for affordable units within neighborhoods, taking advantage of the work ANHD has already done in finding solutions to this problem. To address the long-term issue, the city should approach the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development in hopes of changing the AMI of the city. If the city is allowed to remove Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties from its AMI, NYCHA would be able to regulate rents that are more in line with local demographics. The problem with affordable housing is only going to grow as the city grows. According to the PlaNYC, the city is expected to add over a million people to its population by 2030 [5]. That increase is surely going to include many families that are unable to afford the current affordable housing stock created by the NHMP.

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Achieving “One New York, Rising Together” “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody...” – Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities New York City’s rich tapestry of narratives requires a comprehensive approach in the development of public policy. Over time, it is necessary for policy to adapt and change with the flow of the city. The urban landscape must evolve to meet the needs of the people in equitable ways that not only set new standards of access and opportunity for residents today, but for future generations as well. As a group of passionate practitioners with diverse professional interests, it is our hope that this collection of recommendations will not only have a great impact on the people of our city, but that it will also set a new standard of equitable policy for future generations. For any further information please contact: Aseem Inam, Director, Theories of Urban Practice (MA) inama@newschool.edu Parsons The New School For Design 212-229-8900 66 West 13th Street New York NY 10011

Regards, Graduate Students Design & Urban Ecologies (MS) Theories of Urban Practice (MA) Design Studies (MA) Parsons The New School for Design

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Designing for an Equitable New York