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Archive for 'Community-Based Planning'

CITI Youth Interns Receive Recognition

citi youth interns recognitionLast month, three CITI Youth interns were honored by their community boards. These students, who have worked as map technicians for the past year, are part of the CITI Youth program, a project of the MAS Planning Center. The CITI Youth program helps young people connect with their community through the use of technology. Using the website www.myciti.org, CITI interns create and display maps at community board meetings to help facilitate the community decision-making process. Over 30 CITI interns are currently working as map technicians in community boards throughout the city. CITI interns Merlin Valdez and Brandon Rutishauser are map technicians at Bronx CB 7 (Fordham). According to Merlin, their maps have earned them a reputation as the “wizards of technology”, with Bronx CB 7 routinely expressing their appreciation of the maps and the student’s service. Brandon and Merlin were both awarded with the 2009 Bronx Community Board 7 Unsung Hero Award at their June board meeting. The students, who are new to the program, have been enthusiastically invited to continue working at the board this coming fall. Continue Reading>>

Prospect Heights: The Making of a Historic District

Last week, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the 850-building Prospect Heights Historic District, the largest district designated in two decades. MAS made a video about the process of creating the historic district, featuring Councilmember Letitia James, Chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission Robert B. Tierney, historian Francis Morrone, and Gib Veconi of Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council (PHNDC), and showing how we worked with PHNDC to survey the historic buildings and promote the area for designation. The result was not just the designation, the act of engaging residents in the process brought the community together and provided a new sense of neighborhood identity. Continue Reading>>

2009 Jane Jacobs Medal Recipients Announced

The Rockfeller Foundation announced today that the recipients of the 2009 Jane Jacobs Medal are Richard Kahan and Damaris Reyes. The medal, which is administered by the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS), was created in 2007 to honor the author and activist who died in April 2006. It is awarded annually to two New Yorkers whose work creates new ways of seeing and understanding the city. Founder and CEO of the Urban Assembly, Richard Kahan is a former President of the New York State Urban Development Corporation and former Chairman of the Battery Park City Authority. Since 1999, the Urban Assembly has created, and now manages, 22 public secondary schools located, by design, in many of the lowest income neighborhoods in New York. Mr. Kahan will receive the 2009 Jane Jacobs Medal for Lifetime Leadership. Continue Reading>>

Increased Capacity Equals Stronger Communities

In mid-May, MAS hosted the third annual Livable Neighborhoods Program (LNP) at Hunter College. This year, the program, which offers free training to grassroots community-based planners and community board members, reached new heights having its highest turnout ever. Nearly 150 residents from all five boroughs joined us for a full day of training in topics ranging from community organizing to using data and maps to zoning. See a slideshow below. Launched in 2007, with generous support from the Altman Foundation and the Mizhuo USA Foundation of the Mizuho Corporate Bank, the LNP continues to help New Yorkers access the tools and resources needed to effectively plan for their neighborhoods. To learn more about the Livable Neighborhoods Program, contact Sideya Sherman at ssherman@mas.org. [AFG_gallery id=’22’]

Make a Map!

MyCITI.org now links you directly to the City’s newest mapping resource: NYCityMap. Brought to you by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication (DOITT), the new map features a much expanded selection of data, aerial photos, and much more. You can search by address, block and lot, or intersection. To help learn to navigate this new tool, click here for a step-by-step training guide, or contact Sideya Sherman at the MAS Planning Center or ssherman@mas.org for assistance and upcoming trainings.

Hundreds Drawn to City Hall Steps to Save Community Boards

city hall rally community board budgetsOn Tuesday, June 9, nearly 300 New Yorkers — community board members and staff, their supporters, elected officials, and MAS — turned out to rally around community boards and to send a strong message to City Council that the public cannot afford for community boards to take a big hit. As reported last week, community board budgets — currently, at just under $200,000, and not having had a single increase in 19 years — are looking at cuts totaling $35,000 each. A cut of that magnitude results in a savings to the City of only about $2 million, but impacts the operations of the board to the point where their ability to do the work of the people — ensuring a voice in local decision-making, overseeing essential municipal services, and serving as a place-based provider of constituent services — becomes next to impossible. Please contact your local council member and urge them to restore the community board budgets: stronger community boards equal stronger communities, and the public can’t afford to take this hit!

Community-Based Plan of the Month: Oak Point Eco-Industrial Park

May was Labor History Month, and given the current economic climate and the national push toward a sustainability agenda, the talk of the town is creating jobs in the sustainability industry. A New York Times article last year described the national attraction to these “green jobs”: “Labor unions view these new jobs as replacements for positions lost to overseas manufacturing and outsourcing. Urban groups view training in green jobs as a route out of poverty. And environmentalists say they are crucial to combating climate change.” Last year, Bronx environmental organizations Sustainable South Bronx (SSBX) and Green Worker Cooperatives released a plan for an Eco-Industrial Park at Oak Point. This plan explores the feasibility of developing a $36 million dollar eco-industrial park on an approximately 28-acre, waterfront brownfield site in Hunts Point, in the South Bronx. The site is located in the western corner of the Oak Point rail yard next to Bruckner Boulevard, across the river from Rikers Island. Continue Reading>>

Your Community Board Needs Your Help!

Your community board provides a range of services vital to your community’s welfare, from overseeing essential municipal services, to ensuring that you have a voice in local decision-making, to serving as a place-based provider of constituent services, but each and every one of our city’s community boards is currently facing a budget cut of $35,000. In response to this, join all five of New York’s borough presidents, all 59 of New York’s community boards, and community advocates of all stripes next Tuesday, June 9, at 11:00 a.m., on the steps of City Hall, to call on the City Council for the restoration of community board budgets for the coming fiscal year. (This rally has been organized by the Manhattan Borough President’s Office.) Community boards are the public’s interface with New York City’s enormous and complex government, and they are also government agencies’ conduit to the public. Meaning, for example, that when the Department of Health needs to update a community on the spread of the H1N1 virus, it asks the community board for help with outreach. Continue Reading>>

MAS Celebrates Activism with Yolanda Garcia Community Planner Award

far rockaway historic bungalows street small by eve baron Ahead of this year’s Yolanda Garcia Community Planner Award (YGCPA), MAS’ Lacey Tauber talks community activism in the Far Rockaways with last years’ YGCPA winner, Jeanne Dupont, Executive Director of the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance. MAS is accepting nominations for this year’s award through Friday, May 29 (2009). For more information, and a copy of the nomination form, click here.

Don’t Sit on the Sidelines: Learn How to Plan Your Neighborhood’s Future Today

sidewalk people fruit cartWhile the recession cuts deep into New Yorker’s pocketbooks and neighborhoods, we can take strength from the fact that the city has weathered hard times before. Many of our neighborhoods — Melrose, Park Slope, Tribeca, Bushwick — have come to symbolize the enormous regenerative power of the city — power that comes about when when communities are actively involved in planning. Developers know that times of recession are times to plan for the comeback — communities know this, too. New York City is changing and the Livable Neighborhoods Program is designed to help communities plan for equitable and sustainable change — now and into the future. Our next full day of training will be Saturday, May 16 at Hunter College. Continue Reading>>

Field Trip Inspires Dreams

citi youth field trip books libraryOn Friday April 4th, MAS accompanied 20 high school students on a visit to architecture and planning firms Perkins Eastman and BFJ Planning. The students, who are part of the MAS CITI Youth program, had a first-hand look at the work of professional architects and planners — receiving an office tour and presentations by key staff from both firms. For the past seven months, these interns have been working as map technicians at their local community board. The students attend public community board meetings where they create and project maps to help facilitate the decision-making process. As a component of their internship, MAS provides monthly professional development workshops that are aimed at helping them increase their capacity as map technicians and expand their knowledge base. Continue Reading>>

Nominations Now Open for Fourth Annual Yolanda Garcia Community Planner Award

yolanda garcia bronx street signThe Yolanda Garcia Community Planner Award (YGCP) acknowledges the hard-working leaders of grassroots, community-based planning. The award was created to commemorate Yolanda Garcia, a community activist in the South Bronx. Under Garcia’s leadership, the residents of Melrose challenged the city, created an alternative to an urban renewal plan, and transformed a neighborhood. The organization created by Garcia, We Stay/Nos Quedamos, is bringing that community’s vision to life through planning, design, construction, and programming. In 2007, MAS presented the second annual YGCP award to Elizabeth Yeampierre for her work with the United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park (UPROSE), which has engaged local residents, particularly youth, in multiple community planning and environmental justice initiatives along the Sunset Park waterfront in Brooklyn. Last year’s winner was Jeanne DuPont, Executive Director of the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance. The award recognized her work engaging a diverse community and local youth in open space and environmental issues on the barrier island of Far Rockaway, Queens. Continue Reading>>