Tag: IF2030

Flatbush FreeMeet, November 22 2008!

REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE at the FLATBUSH FREEMEET! sponsored by Sustainable Flatbush and Freecycleâ„¢ New York City Saturday, November 22, 2008 12 noon – 3pm

Flatbush Supper Club report!

Micki Josi is a New York City public school teacher and the co-founder, with fellow teacher Coquille Houshour, of Educating Tomorrow, a group committed to “greening” NYC schools. Micki generously offered her home for the first-ever Flatbush Supper Club potluck and discussion, and here is […]

Park(ing) Day 2008: Cortelyou Rd. Park!

Park(ing) Day is an event in which organizations from around the globe take over parking spots and transform them into mini-parks, open to all, to serve as a reminder of how public space could be better allocated to accommodate people instead of cars. Our spot was one of 50 throughout NYC.

Park(ing) Day is one of my favorite events of the year (since I discovered it through Sustainable Flatbush last year), and this year’s Park(ing) Day was as wonderful as ever! There is nothing more special than seeing people of all ages and backgrounds, who might not have otherwise ever mingled, meet each other, relax, talk, smile, play, draw, and paint together, all in one tiny green space. Park(ing) Day allowed us to reclaim our precious public space and make magic happen for a day, at Cortelyou Rd. Park!

While last year’s Cortelyou Rd. Park was organized by only two of us, this year’s park benefited from a slew of volunteers and organizations who donated their time and goods to make this event a huge success. This year, in addition to art supplies for the kids, we had a beautiful exhibit of F.A.S.T artists organized by Susan Siegel, organic snacks galore and a huge gift basket (that we raffled) donated by the Flatbush Food Coop, fair-trade coffee donated by Vox Pop, and plenty of hard-working volunteers who helped us organize, document, set up and break down our park.

Thank you to all who made this project a success by showing up and taking their shoes off to enjoy our patch of green!

A huge thank you to Anne for bringing Park(ing) Day to Flatbush (and to all of us!); to all our organizers: Xris, Mela, Rosa, Kelli, and me (yay!); and the volunteers who helped us set up and break down: David, Lashonda, and John. A special thanks to Xris, Flatbush Gardener, for loaning his backyard furniture for the day to dress up our spot!

Park(ing) Day NYC is organized by the New York City Streets Renaissance (a city-wide campaign for livable, people-friendly streets that includes The Open Planning Project, Transportation Alternatives, and Project for Public Spaces), The Trust for Public Land, and Eyebeam Art and Technology Center.

Check out highlights from our park throughout the day, from set up to clean up:

To see more photos of Cortelyou Rd. Park 2008, please visit our Flickr Photo Set.

Photos by Keka Marzagao

Flatbush Bike Ride to Summer Streets!

Okay, now I can speak from first-hand experience: Summer Streets, New York City’s experiment with creating a car-free haven for pedestrians and cyclists, is truly fantastic!

I Wanna Be a Solar Empowerment Zone!

Last week I attended a special hearing of the New York City Council’s Infrastructure Task Force, on the topic of Distributed Energy Generation in NYC – essentially, how to encourage it.

Imagine Flatbush final visioning meeting tonight

Tonight is the final workshop meeting of Imagine Flatbush 2030, the community visioning project created by Municipal Arts Society and Flatbush Development Corporation to “assist in creating neighborhood sustainability goals and tools to measure progress toward consensus-based goals”. As this stage of the project comes to a close (along with, presumably, Municipal Arts Society’s direct involvement), many neighborhood stakeholders (including Sustainable Flatbush) are eager to know how we can participate in working toward the goals that have been discussed in the workshops: preserving and expanding affordable housing, making streets more pedestrian-friendly (especially for children, seniors, and the disabled), establishing indoor and outdoor spaces for community gatherings, supporting locally-owned businesses, promoting a neighborhood arts scene, and more. For those of us who live, work, and study here in Flatbush and have a vested interest in its future, tonight will be our opportunity to establish how we will move forward with this collective vision of neighborhood sustainability.

Imagine Flatbush 2030 from MAS on Vimeo.

Tonight’s meeting is at 6pm in the Brooklyn College Student Center, 6th floor, East 27th Street and Campus Road. Childcare is available and refreshments will be served.

TONIGHT: Imagine Flatbush 2030

Tonight is the second of four community visioning meetings for Imagine Flatbush 2030, to be held at Brooklyn College’s new Conference Center. Everyone is invited. Local blog Brooklyn Junction provides the perfect summary of why this process is so important: Come out to the meeting […]

Imagine Flatbush 2030 Community Meeting

In case the print is too small to read, I’ll repeat it here: Come and participate in a special dialogue about the future of Flatbush. The Flatbush Development Corporation (FDC) and the Municipal Art Society (MAS) are inviting you to take part in Imagine Flatbush […]

Imagine Flatbush 2030

Imagine Flatbush 2030 logo
(Imagine Flatbush logo by Imani Aegedoy)

Last night was the first meeting of Imagine Flatbush 2030, a “community visioning project” sponsored by the Municipal Arts Society and Flatbush Development Corporation. The project’s purpose is to engage neighborhood stakeholders (to my delight, I was asked to be on the Advisory Committee… guess that makes me a stakeholder!) in a sustainability discussion and planning process at the local level:

As part of Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York, MAS will work with the residents, business owners, and civic leaders of Flatbush, Brooklyn, with the partnership of the Flatbush Development Corporation, to assist in creating neighborhood sustainability goals and tools to measure progress toward consensus-based goals. Flatbush is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the city, growing at a rate of eight percent annually, and mirroring the needs and attributes of a growing population within a district that is both architecturally and historically distinct. Yet the lack of affordable housing undermines the ability of the neighborhood to stay diverse, the resident to open space ratio is among the highest in the city, and heavy vehicular traffic compromises the quality of life.

In other words, what do we want our neighborhood to look like in the future, both immediate and distant? How can we accommodate population growth while maintaining the things about our neighborhood’s character that we love? What are the unique assets and challenges we have to work with in this process?

Before breaking into small discussion groups we heard from environmental justice activist and Executive Director of UPROSE (United Puerto Rican Association of Sunset Park) Elizabeth Yeampierre on the need for New York City to urgently address climate change by rethinking ALL of the choices we make in our lives. She is a great speaker who has received many awards and accolades for her leadership in organizing intergenerational groups in disenfranchised communities to unite against social, economic, and environmental injustice. I was really struck by her description of how UPROSE evolved from fighting against things in their community to planning for things, and the sense of empowerment that came with that evolution. Here in Flatbush we are fortunate to not be fighting against highway expansions and power plant sitings and irresponsible brownfield development, and also to have many motivated and talented people to work for the positive changes we want to see. We are rich in social and creative capital, and Imagine Flatbush 2030 is an opportunity to utilize those human resources.

Upon reconvening from the group discussions, we learned that there was mostly consensus on what we love about Flatbush and want to preserve and build on — diversity of population (ethnic, cultural, religious, economic), variety of housing stock, locally-owned businesses, good public transportation, good schools — and what we feel is lacking — affordable housing, public green space, places to gather for social interaction, retail selection (too many pharmacies, not enough grocery stores), opportunities for youth, arts and cultural amenities.

Some issues that were touched upon and that I hope to discuss in more depth include energy efficiency retrofits for apartment buildings and houses (which would help keep housing affordable for current residents and owners); improving and expanding public transportation, especially “crosstown” bus service; better pedestrian and bicycle amenities; and — the big one — promoting a sustainable approach to urban living that prepares us for future environmental challenges. Elizabeth Yeampierre put it out there: “We all love our SUVs, but I might have to think about sitting my bodacious hips down on a bike“. Like she said…

The next meeting of Imagine Flatbush will be on December 12th at Brooklyn College. If you’ve read this far chances are you’re a stakeholder too… and you are invited! I’ll post the details here when they become available.