The wait is over! The Design Trust for Public Space revealed the winners of their citywide competition “Public for All: Rethinking Shared Space in NYC”. The initiative invited everyone living in NYC's five boroughs to send research, design, and planning proposals that would provide equal access and quality public space for all New Yorkers, especially at a time when issues like aging infrastructure, a growing population, dwindling public resources, and climate change are on the rise.
The competition attracted 105 applications that addressed major topics like mitigating gentrification to adapting underutilized buildings to affirming the rights of youth. Last night during a public event at the J.M. Kaplan Fund, two projects out of five finalists were announced as the winners. They are:
When the Going Gets Tough...Addressing Equity & Quality of Life in Community-Managed Public Space
Proposed by: Neighborhood Plaza Program of the Horticultural Society of New York in collaboration with Uptown Grand Central
Project summary: “Close to half of NYC’s 70 pedestrian plazas are in under-served communities. New Yorkers love these plazas, so even struggling organizations are willing to invest the time, money and sweat equity to privately manage them. This project will explore innovative strategies for addressing the challenge of operating and programming public space in neighborhoods where resources are scarce, organizational capacity is low, and quality of life infractions are frequent.”
‘The sociological, anthropological, policy and design aspects of what goes on in the blocks surrounding our community plaza are complex, multilayered, and most definitely worthy of study. What core factors are we and our neighborhood partners missing in all the work that we do? Are there lessons we can learn from pulling back and observing the systems and factors as a whole? Having worked closely with the Neighborhood Plaza Program of the Horticultural Society of New York in years past, we are excited and would be grateful to deepen our work together—to begin to find answers that can apply not only to our 125th Street Plaza, but also for plazas across the city, especially those in other high-need areas.’ — Carey King, Director, Uptown Grand Central
Community Land Trust as a Model for Public Space
Proposed by: South Bronx Unite, in collaboration with New York City Community Land Initiative and the Mott Haven-Port Morris Community Land Stewards including Birthing Project, Community Connections for Youth, Friends of Brook Park, Rollin Together, Radical Health, and South Bronx Farmers Market, and UpBeat NYC
Project summary: “This project would create a comprehensive urban development plan for the Mott Haven-Port Morris area in the Bronx and advance the community land trust as a sustainable community-owned development model citywide.”
‘Over the last two years, my office has supported the efforts of South Bronx Unite in examining the feasibility of converting a vacant, 25,000 square foot, city-owned building located at 349 East 140th Street in the Bronx into a community center. The H.E.ARTS Center could house a dozen local organizations focusing on health, education and the arts. Having the Design Trust lend its weight to this project would be an important step toward bringing this project across the finish line. I support the idea of Community Land Trusts (CLT) as a way to strengthen local capacity and ensure local oversight over land. As South Bronx Unite continues working to expand community input into local design and developments processes, I fully support their efforts to build a platform for greater community understanding and stewardship of local assets.’ — Melissa Mark-Viverito, NYC Council Speaker and Council representative for District 8.
The full list of finalists were: Community Land Trust as a Model for Public Space; Return of the Stanton Building; StalledNYC!; When the Going Gets Tough...Addressing Equity & Quality of Life in Community-Managed Public Spaces; and Yes Loitering.
Moving forward, the Design Trust will develop and implement the winning project ideas in partnership with the teams, and will begin engaging with community stakeholders.
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