The Design Trust for Public Space is collaborating with the Public Housing Community Fund and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to create and activate community-designed green space at four NYCHA public housing developments for 14,000 residents in Brooklyn and the Bronx.
1 out of every 17 New York City residents live in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments. Public housing is an integral part of the city’s landscape. Better public space in these communities contributes to a more connected, sustainable, and green future for all New Yorkers.
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has announced a grant of $3.2 million for Green Space Connections. Led by the Public Housing Community Fund in collaboration with NYCHA’s Asset & Capital Management Division, and managed by The Design Trust for Public Space, the program will use the Connected Communities' participatory design process to create and activate green space at four NYCHA public housing developments over the next three years.
Green Space Connections features three main program elements – Participatory Design Process, Physical Transformation, and Programming for Sustainability – to ensure that the spaces have a direct, positive impact on the health, well‐being, resiliency, safety, and overall quality of life of 14,000 NYCHA residents in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Project development and programming is supported by the Center for Justice Innovation.
Access to safe, well-maintained green spaces is a health equity issue. There is a clear link between proximity to green space and overall community health. Public health experts indicate that a person's zip code is a better predictor of one's health rather than genetics or lifestyle choices. The four developments – Marlboro Houses and Roosevelt Houses in Brooklyn and Castle Hill Houses and Patterson Houses in the Bronx – were selected due to their documented high need in health indicators as well as climate vulnerability. Green space is a critical environmental justice tool to combat climate change and prepare vulnerable neighborhoods for climate resilience.
These open spaces are by and for residents who know their communities' needs best. Our Opening the Edge project, which helped inspire this program, is currently building a vibrant community space with NYCHA residents at the Lillian Wald Houses in the Lower East Side. Activating NYCHA open spaces builds stronger community connections between NYCHA campuses and the city’s public sidewalks and streets, parks, institutions, retail and transit. Creating strong resident networks empowers communities to continue to advocate for public housing improvements, beyond these initial sites. Improving the surrounding physical environment at NYCHA developments through community design will have a transformative impact on the lives of public housing communities and beyond.
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust announces grant of $3.2 million for Green Space Connections. Led by the Fund for Public Housing in collaboration with NYCHA’s Asset & Capital Management Division, and managed by The Design Trust for Public Space, the program will use the Connected Communities' participatory design process to create and activate green space at four NYCHA public housing developments over the next three years.
Site visits with our Green Space Partners and resident leaders at Marlboro, Roosevelt, Castle Hill and Patterson Houses. Initial outreach to residents to collect ideas about improving and activating green spaces will take place.
A team of residents at each development will identify priorities for upgrading and activating green space. Through a resident‐centered design process the design will be developed in partnership with the Green Space Partner for implementation.
Funding will be allocated at each site to build the greening intervention developed in the participatory design process.
Based on the resident input gathered during phase 1, and priorities established by stakeholder groups, each site will develop programming for the green spaces that have been improved.
Green Space Connections aims to create a community‐facing replication strategy for scalability and a toolkit for NYCHA community leaders to continue to design and activate green spaces in the future.
August 2, 2023