PSPD: Multiplicity, Fall 2013


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PSPD: Multiplicity, Fall 2013

  1. 1. multipliCITY Fall 2013 The DIY Issue School of Architecture /1 / m CITY | Summer2013
  2. 2. Table of Contents Editors 1. From the Editors 1 2. Articles Vagabond Vermicomposting / By Omari Washington 2 Mysterious Landscapes: APA Presentations / By Chris Hamby BZP at Park(ing) Day / By Ana Fisyak 5 Beyond Resilience: Planners Network Conference / By Natsumi Yokura 6 4 RAMP Summer Update / By Brooke Mayer 8 3. Spotlights Capstone: From Open Sewer to Open (RE)source / By Leonel Lima Ponce Internship: Hester Street Collaborative / By Chris Hamby 11 Faculty Work: The Collaborative / By Lacey Tauber 10 11 Matt Garcia City & Regional Planning Claire Nelischer City & Regional Planning Chris Rice City & Regional Planning Ted Seely City & Regional Planning Thom Stead City & Regional Planning 6. Graduate Studios Seward Park Urban Renewal Area / By Lydia Chapman and Ana Fisyak Fundamentals Studio: Lower East Side / By Chris Rice 14 Protecting Flushing Meadows Corona Park /By Joseph Kyle Kozar 16 Preserving Sacred Sites in Bedford Stuyvesant / By Francine Morales 18 12 7. Graduate Study Abroad Sustainable Agonda, Part II / By Lindsay Donnellon Affordable Housing in New York and São Paulo / By Tina Lee 20 22 8. Accomplishments 24 Editorial Board Adia Ware Assistant to the Chair, Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment John Shapiro Chair, Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment Jaime Stein Coordinator, Urban Environmental Systems Management Cover Photo: Favelas in São Paulo, Brazil. A group of CRP and UESM students travelled to Brazil this past spring for a comparative study of housing needs and affordable housing policy in São Paulo and New York City. Full article on Page 22. m CITY | Summer 2013 /2 / Nadya Nenadich Coordinator, Historic Preservation
  3. 3. Matt Garcia, Claire Nelischer, Chris Rice, Ted Seely, and Thom Stead From the Editors DIY Spirit Cities today, more than ever, present a complex cluster of challenges. Climate change, aging urban infrastructure, difficulties in service provision, lack of affordable housing, inefficient public transportation, and economic injustices are all issues that come to a point in urban areas. But cities are also centers of creative energy, collective spirit, and community capital, and it is with these strengths that city dwellers are transforming urban challenges into opportunities. In multipliCITY’s Fall Issue, we investigate how urbanites are taking matters into their own hands to change their communities through do-it-yourself urbanism. DIY urbanism embraces collaboration and improvisation to implement grassroots urban projects. From guerrilla gardens and informal public spaces to pop-up events and art projects, citizens are tapping into the idea that the city is ours to shape and remake. Pratt’s Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development is a hotbed of this DIY spirit. In teaching students tools and strategies for creating vibrant, healthy, sustainable, and livable cities through applied instruction and real-world projects, the program is shaping the next generation of urbanists, who will in turn help to shape our cities. The articles that follow demonstrate the diversity of ways in which PSPD students, faculty, and friends are helping to build our cities in hands-on ways that are equitable, sustainable, and beautiful. An update from the Beyond Zuccotti Park team introduces Park(ing) Day as a collective “hack” of parking spaces to create temporary public spaces. Pratt’s Green Infrastructure Pratt students, faculty, and alumni participate in a vermicomposting workshop. Fellows highlight their recent composting workshops where students and staff were invited to create and monitor their own vermicomposting system. A recap of the 2013 Planners Network Conference, recently hosted by Pratt, demonstrates the energy and interest in urban equity issues shared amongst progressive planners across the United States and internationally. In the Spring Studio Summaries, students from recent five studios discuss their hands-on experiences developing creative solutions to preservation, land use, housing, public space, and infrastructure issues in diverse communities across the globe. We hope that the optimism and energy embodied in the stories that follow leave you hopeful and inspired. Park(ing) Day 2013. Photo by Van Alen Institute. / /11/ m CITY | Summer2013
  4. 4. Student Article Omari Washington Vagabond Vermicomposting Pratt’s Green Infrastructure Fellows host workshop and monitoring program The Vagabond Vermicomposting Workshop and Monitoring Program was the third in the six-part Design and Technology series coordinated by the Pratt Green Infrastructure Fellows. The goal of the Design & Technology Workshops is to bring awareness to the Green Infrastructure projects at Pratt. Each workshop is related and contributes to the two green infrastructure projects happening on Pratt’s Brooklyn campus through funds received from the Department Environmental Protection Green Infrastructure grant in Spring 2012: the retrofit of the Cannoneer Court parking lot and the installation of a green roof on North Hall. On Friday, March 22, 2013, Professor Kate Zidar, Coordinator of S.W.I.M., a coalition dedicated to ensuring swimmable waters around New York City, led 15 participants through the steps of creating a vermicomposting (worm) bin. The composting efforts of the participants in the Vagabond Vermicomposting Workshop and Monitoring Program will inform monitoring efforts for the two campus green infrastructure projects. Vermicomposting is a process for turning food scraps into nutrient-rich humus (or organic matter that cannot break down any further). In nature, this carbon-laden substance makes up the top layer of soil where most of the decomposition occurs and therefore is teaming with life! In order to achieve this desired soil outcome, vermicomposting engages red wiggler worms in the breakdown of Workshop participants build their own vermicomposters. m CITY | Summer 2013 /2 / vegetables, fruits, and other food items. While Kate is an advocate for composting everything, she advised us to stick to a vegetarian diet for our indoor vermicomposting project. To introduce the concept of vermicomposting to the workshop participants, Kate shared a slide show of the North Brooklyn Compost Project, her first attempt at maintaining a vermicompost bin. Instead of the small plastic bins that we were about to build, she began with three 50-gallon containers! Kate’s black containers were very dark, the kind of environment that the worms enjoy, but also provoked them to wander outside of the containers. Kate told us of arriving back at the bins one day after initial set-up to find dead worms sprawled
  5. 5. out on the ground in all directions surrounding the containers. Workshop participants benefitted from Kate’s experience, creating “worm condos” in clear plastic bins to avoid wandering worms. After each participant lined their plastic bin with newspaper from the New York Times, which works well because of its non-toxic, soy-based inks, they were given a pound of worms to start their community. This was just the beginning of the “community”; as the weeks went on, other decomposers and fungi began to populate the bins and diversify the community. A similar diversity was reflected in the group of participants. While many of the participants were Pratt graduate students from the Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development, there were also faculty members, professionals from environmental non-profits, community gardeners, and a student and teacher from a local higschool. Each participant created their own worm bins to monitor for a period of ten weeks. Each week, participants recorded the weight of the food scraps that they added to the bin, along with the temperature of the bin. They also provided a description of the materials that were added. The results of our monitoring project will be detailed later in the Vagabond Vermicomposting booklet. Faculty and students from various departments participated in the workshops Omari Washington is an urban dweller concerned with the social and environmental well-being of under-served communities. Prior to attending the UESM program at Pratt Institute, he created, implemented and evaluated innovative environmental education (EE) programs at New York Restoration Project. Participants measure soil for their vermicomposting units. /3 / m CITY | Summer2013
  6. 6. Student Article Chris Hamby Mysterious Landscapes Pratt hosts the 2013 APA NY Metro Chapter Student Presentations Student work produced in the Fall 2012 Harlem River Land Use and urban Design Studio. Each year, the five graduate programs of the New York Metro area (Columbia, Hunter, NYU, Pratt, and Rutgers) convene present their students’ best studio work and receive feedback from a panel of judges. The event was hosted by Pratt this year. Ron Shiffman and Jonathan Martin’s Fall 2012 urban design studio, focused on the Harlem River, was chosen to represent the school. As the Fall studio continued the work of Eve Baron and Ron Shiffman’s Spring 2012 community development studio, the presentation included the communitydriven comprehensive planning undertaken by students earlier that year. Four students from the Fall studio volunteered to present and undertook the unenviable task of compressing two studios and the urban design work of three student groups into one twenty minute presentation. To complete this task, the group, led by Simon Kates and Chris Hamby, decided to forgo the standard PowerPoint presentation and opt instead for a unique, round-table style discussion. Rebecca Gillman Crimmins led the presentation, introducing both studios and narrating an introm CITY | Summer 2013 ductory video. Rebecca also acted as moderator for the roundtable discussion, with Lindsay Donnellon, Krystin Hence, and Tyler Klifman representing their respective studio subgroups. Dividing the studio subgroups’ recommendations into themed sections, the group representatives responded to themes surrounding the Harlem River site and presented designs and conceptual renderings of new possibilities for the Bronx and Manhattan sides of the river. The student presentations ran for many hours, and Pratt’s presentation came at the very end of the night. But even after a long night with many strong presentations from the four other schools, Pratt’s presentation caught the audience’s attention and received nearly unanimous high praise from the jury. Representatives from the Harlem River community, including the Harlem River Working Group and the Bronx Borough President’s Office, traveled to Brooklyn to attend, and came away excited by the presentation’s potential. It was a fitting conclusion to the yearlong effort by Pratt’s students and faculty, though not the end of the progress being made on the Harlem River. Chris Hamby is a third year CRP student. He is currently a project manager with DOT’s Green Infrastructure unit. Students from the Fall 2012 Harlem River Land Use and urban Design Studio present at the annual APA sudent presentations. /4 /
  7. 7. Student Article Ana Fisyak Park(ing) Day Spring Highlights from Beyond Zuccotti Park Park(ing) Day is an annual open-source event in which citizens, artists and activists hack the street, transforming metered parking spaces in temporary public spaces be they gardens, libraries, sidewalks cafes, art installations, lawns or picnic areas. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in their downtown. This action started a DIY initiated, people-powered parklette movement that each year draws attention to the need for more urban open space, generates critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and, for a day, improves the quality of urban human habitat though with lasting impression of what is possible. Since 2005, Park(ing) Day has evolved to 162 cities in 35 countries on 6 continents encompassing some 975 parks. Last September, the Democracy, Equity and Public Realm Initiative partnered with the Van Alen Institute and Occupy Town Square to celebrate the publication of Beyond Zuccotti Park: Freedom of Assembly and the Occupation of Public Space (New Village Press, September 2012) with the occupation of two parking spots outside the Van Alen Bookstore on 30 W 22nd Street. New York being New York requires additional regulatory maneuvering, but with two “No Parking” signs collected from the local police precinct, orchestrated by local Park(ing) Day contact Julie Flynn of Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates, the organizers felt they had cracked a secret New York City street code only enjoyed, it seemed, by Law and Order. The two parking spots became an outdoor living room fully equipped with seating, books, records, a record player and an open invitation for passersby to sit down, to talk, to read, to eat their lunch, to play a record and to reorient themselves to the plasticity of their urban environment. Participants at Park(ing) Day 2012 in Manhattan. Photo by Van Alen Institute. As Buddy Holly filled the surrounding street, workers, nearby residents, students, building managers and street cleaners skipped a few beats before unrolling the inevitable, but rarely provoked question from seasoned New Yorkers. “What is this?” Each time the question was answered and a conversation began, two important realities crystallized in these two 4 by 8 feet parking spots. The first was that this shift in perspective is critical. This action--turning a parking space into a park--provoked a moment of reorientation and redefinition of the urban fabric from solid and immovable to plastic and changeable. One over which residents, workers, occupiers had a right to perform their agency. The second was the importance of public spaces, even small through provocative ones, to provide the space for social interaction, for people to meet each other and /5 / build relationships, as places where the social fabric, not just the built fabric, can find its foundations. Ana Fisyak is a second-year masters candidate in the CRP program and a Design and Planning Fellow at the Municipal Arts Society. m CITY | Summer2013
  8. 8. Student Article Natsumi Yokura Beyond Resilience: Actions for a Just Metropolis Pratt hosts annual Planners Network Conference Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir performing at the conference wrap up party. In the new post-Sandy reality, New York City has engaged in rigorous discussions aspiring towards creating a more resilient city. A seawall protecting lower Manhattan, innovative building designs, and retracting development from the waterfront have all been discussed as pre-emptive protection measures against future climate events. However, the greater resiliency discourse must consider social equity as an important component if we are to avoid the prolonged human services crisis experienced in the aftermath of Sandy. As we observed, low-income residents were come of the most impacted in New York City, having little access to mobility options. These people were thus most susceptible to the effects of flooding: loss of heat, electricity and access m CITY | Summer 2013 to food and water, many for weeks after the rest of the city re-gained full services. These realities formed the basis of this year’s Planners Network conference theme: Beyond Resilience: Actions for a Just Metropolis, located this year in New York City and hosted by Hunter College and the Pratt Institute. While experiences and lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy were undoubtedly important themes present throughout the conference, the broader topic of justice and equity provided the overarching framework that tied diverse sessions together. Over 300 attendees traveled to the conference from diverse geographies including Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Hawaii, Chicago, Texas, Montreal, and of course, all corners of New York City. /6 / The conference opened on Thursday night at Hunter College with a screening of My Brooklyn (2012), a documentary by local filmmakers Kelly Anderson and Allison Lirish Dean. The film chronicles the downtown Brooklyn rezonings within the context of gentrification in Brooklyn and the developer-friendly planning process under Bloomberg. My Brooklyn kicked off a series of motion picture representations of struggles in different urban contexts, screened on Saturday. Saturday films included El Barrio Tours (2013, Andrew Padilla), a short documentary that explored gentrification in Spanish Harlem and its effects on the largest population of Puerto Ricans in the fifty states. Our Space, Our Food, Our Bed-Stuy (2013, Makia Harper, Uki Lau, Samantha Riddell, and Phung Tran Khamphounvong) was also shown,
  9. 9. examining the lack of access to fresh food in Bedford-Stuyvesant. On Friday, conversations were taken to the streets of the New York City Metropolitan Region. Mobile community workshops were held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens to discuss the area’s current urban renewal efforts; Orange, New Jersey to assess the implications of Orange’s recent comprehensive plan and to discuss Orange’s future in light of a new comprehensive plan; the South Bronx to highlight efforts to gain access to its waterfront; and finally, the Rockaways in Queens to discuss the physical and social effects caused and revealed by Superstorm Sandy (this tour was led by Planners Network founding member Tom Angotti). After drying off from a very wet day, attendees enjoyed a welcome reception and a plenary on Brazil’s urban social movements at the Pratt Institute’s Higgins Hall in Brooklyn. The final day of the conference featured a full day of panel discussions, workshops, and film screenings at Higgins Hall, based around topical tracks titled “Community Land Trust”; “Solidarity Economy”, and “Challenging Gentrification and Market-Based Economy”. One well-attended panel discussion, “Misunderstanding Gentrification”, discussed the urban phenomenon of gentrification, which most New Yorkers have experienced in one way or another, but could benefit from a more comprehensive and clarifying explanation. The diverse research interests on the panel offered interesting viewpoints on the topic, including critical theory, oral histories, community organizing, and LGBTQ perspectives. Additional workshops included presentations on current urban struggles in places such as Hawaii and New Orleans, innovative disaster-preparedness techniques, and urban farming. A mid-day plenary tied the final day together with a discussion on the conference topic of extending the privilege of urban resiliency to all residents regardless of socioeconomic status. Marla Nelson (University of New Orleans), Aixa Torres (Smith Houses Resident Association), and Rachel LaForest (Right to the City Alliance) served as panelists, offering their unique views on the topic, while Miguel Robles-Duran (The New School) moderated. The conference was wrapped up with a rousing performance by Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir at Higgins Hall. At- tendees shared their experiences with one another, recapping a whole weekend’s worth of conversation and learning. With another well-attended conference in the books, it is difficult to resist the temptation of looking ahead to the next Planners Network Conference. One reassurance realized at this year’s conference is that there is neither shortage of discussion material nor in interest in urban issues. To find out more about Planners Network, visit Natsumi Yokura is a Master of Urban Planning student at Hunter College interested in public transit and community development, set to graduate in Spring 2014. Attendees enjoy lunch outside at Higgins Hall. /7 / m CITY | Summer2013
  10. 10. Brooke Mayer RAMP Update RAMP Summer Update Boat tour, studios, workshops, and training hosted by RAMP Attendees enjoy lunch outside at Higgins Hall. RAMP Boat Tour participants. Photo by Dennis Hwang. Throughout the program’s history, PSPD classes have explored the concept of urban sustainability and resiliency through working with communitybased organizations committed to social, economic and environmental justice. Hurricane Sandy served as a vivid reminder of the significance of these issues in the face of our changing climate. Building on PSPD’s foundation of urban sustainability and the Post-Sandy efforts of Professor Ron Shiffman and the student-led Pratt Disaster Resilience Network, RAMP (Recovery, Adaptation, Mitigation and Planning) weaves together a suite of studios, classes, working groups, and trainings to address the issues facing the region’s coastal communities. Through capacity building, technical assistance and policy development, RAMP establishes a comprehensive, sustained, holistic and synergistic approach to recovery and planning. Summer 2013 marked RAMP’s inaugural program, chock-full of exciting events and opportunities: m CITY | Summer 2013 PSPD Boat Tour On May 17th, RAMP kicked off the summer with a NY Water Taxi tour of New York City waterfront communities adversely impacted by Sandy. The tour was attended by 115 Pratt students, faculty and community partners and included the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Coney Island, the Northeast shore of Staten Island, and the Rockaway Peninsula. It provided a unique and in-depth orientation to New York City’s waterfront and Sandy-impacted communities from a perspective that many participants had never had the opportunity to see. Our expert team of tour guides was comprised of Tom Fox (Tom Fox & Associates), Carter Craft (Outside NY), Dan Wiley (Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez), Eddie Bautista (NYC Environmental Justice Alliance), Mary Kimball (NYC Department of City Planning), Illya Azaroff (+Lab Architects), and PSPD Professor Ron Shiffman. The tour provided /8 / students participating in RAMP summer studios and classes with a strong foundation of information and a robust collection of photographs to reference throughout their summer work. RAMP Studios RAMP provides an opportunity for students to work collaboratively across classes. By focusing concurrent studios around the same neighborhood, RAMP supports a synergistic approach in the analyses and recommendations that the classes produce. Each studio offered this summer, including Undergraduate Architecture, Green Infrastructure Design/Build, and Community Planning, focuses on Red Hook. In the third week of classes, students came together for an intra-studio salon at which students shared their work and discussed further opportunities for collaboration and resource sharing. While each studio is working at a different scale, the salon
  11. 11. produced a rich conversation and identified opportunities for continued collaboration through additional intra-studio salons, a virtual message board, and informal student meetings. This kind of cross-collaboration is particularly useful given the relationships that each studio has formed with a number of Red Hook residents and community partners. The studios have made an effort to share these resources effectively through shared presentations and coordinated communication. and the beginnings of a Resilience in Public Housing Action Plan. On July 17th 6-9pm at The Center for Architecture and July 24th at Pratt Manhattan, RAMP offered a workshop titled “Adapting to Rising Currents and Climate Change: Best Case Examples from Abroad.” The evenings consisted of a series of guest presentations illustrating how other cities have adapted to rising currents and the challenges posed by climate change. The program on July 17th focused on social aspects and adaptation strategies. The training culminated in a hands-on design exercise that challenged participants to apply resilient design strategies to a theoretical emergency housing and storm shelter development in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where many of the studios are taking place this summer. Additional trainings focused on coastal community resilience were offered to our community partners on July 31st and August 1st. In late July, under the direction of Professor Green Infrastructure Design-Build Midterm Review in Red Hook Photo by Ron Shiffman . Working Groups and Workshops Through a coordinated community engagement effort, RAMP is establishing a number of different working groups to address some of the most salient issues around recovery, adaptation, mitigation and planning. This summer, these working groups include Resilience in Public Housing, and Innovation and Transparency in Financing Resiliency. RAMP is also in the process of forming two additional working groups, Smart Grid, Broadband and Distributive Energy Technologies and Public Health, which will begin meeting in the Fall. On June 18th, the Public Housing working group convened a public workshop titled “Responding to Disasters: Natural and Manmade” to discuss NYCHA’s looming budget cuts, infill or land lease proposal, and management of the Sandy response and recovery process. The workshop, attended by a number of public housing residents, community leaders, advocacy organizations, lawyers assisting the residents and representatives from the offices of elected officials, produced a very engaging conversation of adaptation and was moderated by Joan Byron (Pratt Center), while the program on the 24th focused on physical adaptation strategies and was moderated by Peter Zlonicky (Urban Planning and Research Office, Munich). Training + Community Outreach RAMP, in collaboration with the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC) of the University of Hawaii and the PSPD, is offering a series of community capacity-building workshops focused on disaster preparedness, housing, and engagement in the rebuilding process. In the third installment of trainings offered through RAMP’s partnership with NDPTC, and in collaboration with the AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction (DfRR) Committee, NDPTC provided a FEMA-sponsored HURRIPLAN Resilient Building Design for Coastal Communities training on May 15th and 16th. The two-day course was attended by Pratt students and faculty, community members and architecture and planning professionals, and covered a range of topics including FEMA regulations, insurance programs, and hurricane-resilient building design /9 / Ira Stern, RAMP partnered with youth from the Rockaways and Red Hook to offer a “CoastSmart” training. Centered around a multi-party role play exercise, the workshop provided students and workshop participants with an in-depth understanding of coastal resilience strategies and tools to engage in a discussion of the implications these strategies have for a range of community stakeholders. Brooke Mayer is a second year CRP Student concentrating in environmental planning. She previously worked as a Pratt Center fellow focusing on energy efficiency incentives and financing, and is now engaging in work on climate change resilience as a co-coordinator for RAMP. m CITY | Summer2013
  12. 12. Capstone Spotlight Leonel Lima Ponce From Open Sewer to Open (RE)source Participatory Sustainable Infrastructure Planning for Favela Pica-Pau Infrastructural failures in favela Pica-Pau include clogged sewers, solid waste dumping, and landslides. photos by Leonel Lima Ponce. Rio de Janeiro’s informal communities, or favelas, are self-built, often ignored by government, and are known for environmental and sociopolitical deficits. Faltering sewerage, water, and solid waste systems breed subhuman conditions and are exacerbated by a lack of political voice. The contentious 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics bring investment to favelas through the Morar Carioca urbanization program. But how can informal communities take ownership of these opportunities? Residents of favela Pica-Pau construct models of infrastructural solutions during the April 6, 2013 Community Visioning Workshop. photo by Theresa Williamson, courtesy of Catalytic Communities. m CITY | Summer 2013 In order to overcome their principal infrastructural deficits, favelas must leverage their environmental and community assets, proposing natural systems through participatory processes. The resulting Participatory Sustainable Infrastructures empower communities and enhance ecosystems. In early 2013, a series of participatory planning activities were conducted with the residents of favela Pica-Pau, in Rio de Janeiro. Favela advocacy NGO Catalytic Communities and the local Residents’ Association assisted in the process. During a transect walk, residents diagnosed and mapped infrastructural deficits and informal adaptations. Issues included flooding and lack of solid waste collection. In a visioning wo r ks h o p, t h e co m m u n i ty p ro p ose d infrastructural and social improvements. A “City as Play” exercise encouraged modeling of solutions with found objects, while groups discussed community priorities. Specific sustainable projects like green roofs and constructed wetlands were introduced to residents, providing Pica-Pau with novel options for sustainable development. Deficits and solutions encountered in this inclusive process were catalogued in a final report. Continued engagement with Pica-Pau’s residents can encourage DIY, natural system projects by community members. A design card /10 / game is under development for future workshops; residents pair deficits and solutions, discussing performance, cost, and benefit metrics. Partnerships with local and international sustainable designers facilitate further study and mutual education, leading to self-built infrastructure installations. The project’s research, execution, and analysis reinforces the catalytic potential of participatory development strategies. Though site specific, these explorations reassert that the mutual engagement of citizens and ecosystems presents an efficient and holistic framework for urban development in the 21st century. Leonel Lima Ponce is an architectural designer and participatory planner focused on bringing sustainable design solutions to underserved communities, from his native Rio de Janeiro to his current home in New York City. He recently graduated from Pratt’s UESM program.
  13. 13. Internship Spotlight Chris Hamby Hester Street Collaborative Activating Public Space In a storefront in the heart of Manhattan’s Chinatown, the Hester Street Collaborative has fostered community-driven design projects and education since 2002. During the spring of 2013, I had the opportunity to work with Hester Street on several of their community design projects. HSC works with community partners, coordinating with non-profits, government agencies, and other groups to activate public spaces and build awareness and activism in communities. Among other projects, I assisted with work on a South-Asian community center proposal in Jackson Heights led by Chhaya, a housing advocacy group, and on an educational piece on Chinatown zoning led by CAAAV, an immigrant rights community organizing group. Hester Street’s largest ongoing project involves the creation of a new public waterfront park on Pier 42 in the East River. The pier, a former loading area for banana shipments, has been left unused for over two decades, and currently interrupts the nascent East River Greenway. Residents neighboring Pier 42, though geographically close to the East River, are currently cut off from their waterfront. The New York Economic Devlopment Corporation, as part of its waterfront revitalization plan, had developed an open space plan for Pier 42 that was perceived as out of alignment with community needs. After developing an alternative community plan for the waterfront in 2008-2009, Hester Street, partnering with 4 community groups as the Lower East Side Waterfront Alliance (Good Old Lower East Side, CAAAV, Lower East Side Ecology Center, and the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council), State Senator Daniel Squadron, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, initiated a participatory process to develop a new park plan driven by community input. Hester Street, as part of the development of Pier 42, has facilitated dozens of visioning sessions around Chinatown and the Lower East Side. I helped facilitate one of these sessions with students at PS 134, an elementary school in the Two Bridges neighborhood. Using materials like felt, pipe cleaners, and photographs, students created a model of their ideal waterfront park. Mathews Nielsen, the landscape architects involved in the parks design and construction, will incorporate ideas like those generated at PS 134 for the eventual new park. Since planning, designing, and construction will take years to complete, Hester Street and its partners are activating Pier 42 from the summer of 2013 onward, drawing attention to the site and generating interest in a long dormant piece of the waterfront. Five artists collaborated with community partners to create public art addressing the site’s history, the surrounding community and the environment. The program, named Paths to Pier 42, will be an invitation for residents of the Lower East Side and communities throughout New York City to take ownership of their waterfront and shape its future. In my brief tenure at Hester Street Collaborative, I was fortunate enough to see the transformation of a vacant lot into a vibrant space accessible to the public. Chris Hamby is a third year CRP student. He is currently a project manager with DOT’s Green Infrastructure unit. Faculty Spotlight Lacey Tauber A collaborative consultancy The Collective for Community, Culture, and the Environment This semester, a group of women professionals, many of whom are PSPD faculty, joined together to form a collectively organized consultancy, the Collective for Community, Culture, and the Environment. The mission of The Collective (as it is known for short) is to combine their broad range of expertise and skills with their vision for a more equitable and environmentally sustainable world. They work together in an interdisciplinary way on projects that further economic resiliency, cultural diversity, public health, social justice and environmental sustainability and emphasize an approach that engages low and moderate income residents and communities to shape decisions about their environment and everyday life. So far, they are working on two main projects: 1) With the Chinatown Working Group, a coalition of over 40 organizations representing Manhattan’s Chinatown and surrounding areas, they are helping to create a community-based proposal that will shape the future of Chinatown with an eye to preserving affordability, cultural heritage, and economic opportunity. /11 / 2) In Mott Haven, South Bronx, they are assisting the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) with the design of a series of public workshops that will influence the Choice Neighborhoods planning process for Mott Haven, supported by HUD/NYCHA and focused on improving quality-of-life for residents in and around Mott Haven’s public housing. Their next project will be working with PSPD and planning firm ARUP on post-Sandy recovery planning efforts in the NYC metro area. m CITY | Summer 2013
  14. 14. Lydia Chapman and Ana Fisyak Graduate Studio Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) Large-Scale Urban Planning and Development The redevelopment of Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA), located off the Williamsburg Bridge in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, has been a subject of debate for the past 4 decades. While the city built housing on some of the cleared parcels in the area, several large blocks went undeveloped. Despite its designation as an urban renewal area, politicians, city planners and other stakeholders have been unable to come up with a consensus on the appropriate development of the vacant cityowned land and its future in a wider context in the Lower East Side. However, this year the City’s Economic Development Corporation issued a Request for Proposals setting out a vision for the development. cial space, a new Essex Street Market, and a new open space, with the potential of a school and other community space. The Spring 2013 sustainable development studio, led by David Burney, Daniel Hernandez and Matthew Lister, examined the RFP proposal in context, considering both the EDC plan itself, as well as the impact on the surrounding neighborhood. The focus of the studio was to enhance our ability to document, experience, and analyze the context of large-scale, mixed-use, multi-phased real estate projects while developing solutions that maximize its assets and create value to place. In formulating recommendations and strategies to this site, students were asked to use what real estate com- The class was divided into two groups while proceeding through the studio’s three phases: discovery, design and synthesis. Students were asked to study and present weekly on findings within the 3 “E” framework, create design interventions and a portfolio of quality development ideas. Students met with various stakeholders in the community, including John Shapiro, who has extensively knowledge of the SPURA’s political environment and community, Gigi Li, Chair of Community Board 3, as well as Michael Zisser, Chief Executive Officer of University Settlement Society of New York, who was instrumental in the community negotiation process with NYCEDC. One group focused on parcel 5 in the Images depicting proposed plans for the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area from the Fall 2012 final studio presentations. The Seward Park Mixed-Use Development proposal includes nine sites with approximately 1.65 million square feet along Delancey and Essex Streets. The proposal allows the transformation of the site to include permanently affordable and market-rate housing, commer- m CITY | Summer 2013 panies often refer to the “triple bottom line” analysis, known as the three “E” elements of sustainable development; environment, equity and economics to consider the people (human capital), planet (natural capital), and profit (economic capital). /12 / study area designated, after much negotiation between NYCEDC and the community, as the future site of open space, housing development and a DOE land retainer for a potential school. The group looked to addrss the need for more community space in the neighbor-
  15. 15. hood, particularly for youth and the large elderly population, through a collaborative, innovative, flexible, experimental and temporary to permanent use as this site changes with development. The proposal was for a community laboratory known as CoLab. The goal was to use targeted interventions in the public realm unique to the character and history of the neighborhood while promoting collaboration, walkability, sustainability, and activating surrounding underutilized streets. The interventions sought a phasing of development on the parcel 5 while extending the interventions into the surrounding community to promote engagement and outreach about the new community space. The second group, CKMTE, created a development pro forma and preliminary design for a mixed use building on parcel 2, the southern east corner of Essex and Delancey Streets, which will also be the future site of the Essex Street Market. The goal was always to fulfill the community request for 50% affordable, 50% market rate housing while developing a green and publicly engaging building, and subsidizing the management costs and affordable commercial space in the Essex Street Market stipulated in the RFP. Through several iterations of the pro forma the group finally came up with 40% affordable, 60% market rate housing model that could sustainably address the Essex Street Market subsidies while creating a well designed and engaging building featuring several public areas and a green roof. Under the guidance of the three professors the two groups grappled with an iterative process to development. One which rarely has ready made answers, but one whose success depends on a strong vision for innovative and contextual design balanced with holistic and sustainable finance model. [For access to the full presentations, please feel free to contact Lydia Chapman at or Ana Fisyak at afisyak@] Images depicting proposed plans for the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area from the Fall 2012 final studio presentations. Lydia Chapman is a second-year CRP student with an interest in historic preservation and community development. Ana Fisyak is a second-year masters candidate in the CRP program and a Design and Planning Fellow at the Municipal Arts Society. /13 / m CITY | Summer2013
  16. 16. Christopher Rice Graduate Studio Fundamentals Studio Large-Scale Urban Planning and Development in the LES The studio’s depiction of the Stanton Street Building at Sarah D. Roosevelt Park. As cities continue to strive to develop more resiliently and sustainably, the repurposing of existing buildings in new and dynamic ways will become increasingly important. For the Spring 2013 Fundamentals Studio, taught by Juan Camilo Osorio and Mecerdes Narciso, students worked with Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), a nonprofit dedicated to social services and community development, and the Hester Street Collaborative, which facilitates community-based design initiatives to engage people in shaping their public spaces. The studio was tasked with developing adaptive reuse strategies for three underutilized buildings in the Lower East Side and Chinatown neighborhoods of New York City. The buildings included: the Stanton Street Building at Sara D. Roosevelt Park, Comfort Station on Delancey Street, and the Seward Park Building. The recommendations of the studio sought to explore new potential uses, community partnerships, and programming focused on youth in the community. The first half of the studio was centered on identifying existing conditions with result topics focused on land use, disaster risk, environmental m CITY | Summer 2013 Interior view of the Stanton Building at Sarah D. Roosevelt Park. /14 /
  17. 17. justice, housing, and economic development. Major findings included encroaching gentrification, air pollution and congestion as a result of high truck traffic, retail diversity, the community’s low vacancy rate, and the historical significance of the neighborhood. In addressing both the focus on youth in the study area as well as larger systemic issues, recommendations centered on mitigating youth violence, increasing social service centers, addressing rising housing costs, and reducing traffic pollution and congestion. AAFE and Hester Street were particularly interested in the studio’s recommendation to create a community stakeholder group to manage and advocate for the use of the park buildings, citing its actionability and participatory nature. In addition to developing thematic based recommendations over varying time frames and scales, the studio also developed scenarios for each of the park buildings. Drawing on the strength of the non-profit sector in the community, the Seward Park Building was envisioned as a multi-use community space where neighborhood organizations could lease space at low or no cost. The building would be managed by a coalition of community-based organizations and would offer flexible and adaptable interior space. The Allen Street Comfort Station was envisioned as a public art display and information kiosk, providing information on emergency preparedness, job opportunities, community workshops, housing rights, and neighborhood attractions. The Stanton Street Park Building was envisioned as both a community bike center and as green technologies practice facility. The community bike center would function as a social enterprise providing youth with job experiences as well as personal development opportunities. The Stanton Street Park Building as a green training facility would feature green technology systems such as water recycling systems and energy saving construction materials. The work force training program would train and certify youth in the community on solar photovoltaic and solar thermal installation, green infrastructure, and electrical retrofitting, among others. Christopher Rice is a first year graduate student in the CRP program at the Pratt Institute. He is interested in climate resiliency and the relationship between public space and social movements. As cities continue to strive to develop more resiliently and sustainably, the repurposing of existing buildings in new and dynamic ways will become increasingly important. The Seward Park building. /15 / m CITY | Summer2013
  18. 18. Joseph Kyle Kozar Graduate Studio Much Ado About Parkland in Queens: Protecting Flushing Meadows Corona Park Students participate in a community workshop. In the summer and fall of 2012, three private development proposals in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens were being advanced independently of each other: the Willets Point project, which was expanded beyond the 2008 Willets Point Special District rezoning to include a 1.4 million square foot shopping mall on the Citi Field parking lot; the USTA’s National Tennis Center campus expansion, which would add a new 8,000 seat stadium, require the alienation of .68 acres of parkland and the removal or of some 300 trees; and the Major League Soccer project, which proposes to construct a 25,000 seat stadium on top of Industrial Pond and would require the alienation of 13 acres of public land in the heart of the park. As these projects simultaneously advanced through various stages of ULURP, public scoping, and public scrutiny, the developers were largely ignoring the cumulative impacts of all three projects coming to fruition. Taken together, these developments could result in the loss of much needed open space in already underserved communities, over-burden the existing and under-maintained park infrastructure, and augment the existing environmental challenges and risk of flooding in the area. As the developers pushed the individual m CITY | Summer 2013 projects through the public and environmental process touting the benefits of local jobs and economic gains, many community groups and primary park users became extremely concerned about the potential negative impacts of the projects on the flagship park of northern Queens. The Fairness Coalition of Queens is a group of concerned community members, community based organizations, civic groups, and cultural institutions that formed to influence any new or proposed redevelopments in Students participate in a community workshop. /16 / Flushing Meadows Corona Park. In the fall of 2012, Pratt Center for Community Development began to lend technical assistance to the Fairness Coalition’s efforts to advocate for the responsible development in the park. This spring, a small city and regional planning studio class , led by professors Ron Shiffman and Eve Baron, worked with the Pratt Center and Fairness Coalition to examine the various issues related to the park and the proposed developments. Historically a tidal marsh and creek,
  19. 19. Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a health value It protects the surrounding neighborhoods from storm surge. 501 calories burned* er cc er g in y la 2080 Sea Level Rise Projections so so cc Sponge! w at ch in g p 107 calories burned* There are 7 CSO Outfalls * for an 150 lb individual engaged in activity for one hour in Flushing Creek and Flushing Bay Parks are a forum for recreation and healthy living. By improving air quality, providing space for exercise and a natural environment for interaction and contemplation, parks encourage both physical and mental well-being. bined sewer system that is caused by snow melt or storm water sewers, the capacity of the sewer system may be exceeded and water. In 2009, approximately 90 of the 130 rain This translates not only into happy and healthy citizens but saves everyone money by reducing health care costs. Tallman Island sewershed, one of two sewersheds that drain into Flushing Meadows Corona Park (FMCP). degradation, which has caused the Army Corps of Engineers and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to study solutions for cleaning up the Flushing Bay waters. Source: NYS DEC and Regional Plan Assiaction Calculations based on NYCDEP data. proposed park uses existing park uses Historically FMCP was a tidal marshland that provided valuable ecosystems for wildlife and absorbed the daily rising tides. Today the park wants to serve the same function. As sea levels rise and the frequency of large storm surges increase, the park can act like a sponge to absorb water and protect the surrounding neighborhoods. Source: International Panel on Climate Change Sea level rise projections, 2009 data set Unfortunately, when public park space becomes privatized for sedentary uses, we lose some of these benefits and the associated cost-savings. Source: National Cancer Institte, HealthStatus Public awareness infographics produced in the Flushing Meadows studio. Flushing Meadows Corona Park is the largest park in Queens (898 acres). It has had a transformational history that in many ways has led to a broad scope of public perception that ranges from nostalgia to indifference. It is the principle open space of northern Queens and is heavily used and cherished by the surrounding neighborhoods. The park is bordered by the very dense, middle-income, largely immigrant communities of Corona, Flushing, Rego Park, Forrest Hills, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, and Kew Gardens. It contains numerous relics of the 1964 World’s Fair, is encircled by over 5-miles of highway, and is home to numerous institutional uses like Citi Field and the Queens Museum of Art. When they first met with the studio class, the Fairness Coalition was deeply entrenched in community organizing and advocacy efforts to oppose the MLS stadium proposal and USTA expansion. The class was tasked with conducting research on the development proposals and producing easy to understand informa- tion about the issues relating to the park. The students began to analyze the issues through a number of site visits, conversations with park users, and independent research. They broke down their analysis into four categories through which to understand the issues: the environment, the economy, the value of park spaces, and a comparison between Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the other flagship parks in the city. Additionally, at the request of the coalition, the class conducted specific research on the effects of sports stadium developments on neighboring communities and the large-scale retail (or shopping mall) market in northern Queens. Midway through the semester students presented their initial findings to members of the Fairness Coalition. Following that meeting, students began to distill their analysis into an informational “tool kit” of info-graphic narratives relating to each of the four issue categories, which the coalition could use to help inform and educate their growing constituency /17 / as they work to develop alternative visions for Flushing Meadows Corona Park. At the end of the semester the students helped the coalition facilitate their first park-visioning workshop at the Queens Museum of Art. The students presented their analysis to a room of roughly 100 community members to se the parameters for the night’s discussions. Moving forward, two students from the studio class are continuing to work with the Fairness Coalition to advocate for responsible park development and to build on the class’s research. While the USTA expansion and the Willets Point projects continue through the ULURP process, Major League Soccer has recently said that they will consider other locations for their stadium. Joseph Kyle Kozar is expected to graduate from City and Regional Planning program later this year. He is an Associate Planner for Energy and Environment at Regional Plan Association where he focuses on open space issues. m CITY | Summer2013
  20. 20. Francine Morales Graduate Studio Preserving Sacred Sites Planning and Historic Preservation in Bedford-Stuyvesant Last January, the Historic Preservation Studio studied four sacred sites in Bedford Stuyvesant with Professors Ben Margolis and Beth Bingham. They were Antioch Baptist Church, B’nai Adath Kol Beth Yisreal, Firth AME Zion, and Friendship Baptist Church. It was a studio that picked up where two fall studios, one on historic documentation and the other on environmental systems, left off. We also partnered with the Philadelphia based organization, Partners for Sacred Places, who devote their time to advocating for and assisting older religious sites. With so much informa- tion already at our figure tips, support from an experienced organization and an even mixture of Historic Preservation and City and Regional Planning students, we started the process with open minds. The goal of the studio was to help with the preservation and planning of sacred sites. This task proved to be difficult on many levels. On the preservation side, sacred sites are considered some of the most difficult to preserve because they are ineligible to be nominated on the National Register unless they have a strong cultural background and tend to have deferred structural maintenance. On the planning side, these buildings open their doors to more than their congregations and have services and programs that are not offered in schools or by the government. They become community centers, but with the lack of significant funding, these programs are at risk to be cut. In considering both sides, we found that there were two different stories that needed to be merged in order for these sacred sites to thrive. To find the solution we had to start with the basics: use our eyes to observe first the The interior sanctuary of B’nai Adath Kol Beth Yisrael, one of the congregations that participated in the studio’s study. Photo by Fred Wolf. m CITY | Summer 2013 /18 /
  21. 21. community, the congregation itself, and then research to find more. In doing so, we found that Bedford Stuyvesant was lacking in healthy food access and many residents lived below the poverty line. We also found the area’s population and real estate value was transitioning as new demographic moved in and development projects were springing up. Throughout this project we used a tool created by Partners for Sacred Places called the Halo Effect. The Halo Effect is an extensive interview conducted with congregation leaders that asks about the number of programs offered, congregation sizes, types of events held and much more. The Halo Effect was not only a way to assess the economic value of each sacred sites, but also a way for to really engage with each of the congregations. It allowed us to explore the buildings, find out where the congregation really struggled, and develop strong recommendations. We found that congregations contributed many valuable programs to the community...the four congregations studied were valued at about four hundred thousand dollars. After careful analysis, we identified a number of difficulties the congregations were facing. Although none were losing members, like many throughout the nation, most were in spaces that are either too small or too big. We discovered structural and mechanical problems, such as major leaks, unstable walls, and outdated heating and cooling systems. Lastly Congregational members at B’nai Adath Kol Beth Yisrael. Photo by Fred Wolf. we found much of the historic, architectural details of the structures were deteriorating and were in need of restoration. On a positive note, we found that these congregations contributed many valuable programs to the community including day care, job assistance and counseling, as well as inexpensive venues for community events and recreational use. Overall, from the Halo Effect, we learned the four congregations studied were valued at about four hundred thousand dollars. The next step in the process was to come up with recommendations for the congregations focused on three main principles: restore, connect, sustain. Restore means to renovate or repair the buildings and activate unused space. Connect means to increase their networks and explore different funding opportunities. And Sustain is meant to reduce environmental impacts and ensure the longevity of the sacred places. The recommendations varied between congregations. Some suggested applying for DEP Green Infrastructure Grant to construct green systems or the National Register to gain access to restoration grants. Other recommendations suggested sharing spaces with other community organizations by conducting small renovations to better utilize /19 / kitchens and other underutilized spaces. Each of our recommendations revealed strategies that provided strong cases for the importance of these sacred places, whether they be architectural, cultural, or of economic significance. Each of these sacred places are true anchors of the Bedford Stuyvesant community, and it was an amazing opportunity to work with them. Francine Morales is a recent Pratt Graduate in the MS Historic Preservation Program. She is currently the summer Preservation Intern at the Municipal Art Society. m CITY | Summer2013
  22. 22. Lindsay Donnellon Graduate Studio Abroad Sustainable Agonda, Part II: City Planning Students in Goa, India Johane Clermont, a Pratt CRP student leads the Design Workshop, January 8th 2013 During the winter break of 2012-2013, 13 students from Pratt’s Program for Sustainable Planning and Development convened in the small coastal village of Agonda, in the Indian state of Goa. Professors Meenakshi Varandani and Gita Nandan, whom have both spent time cultivating a lasting relationship with local architects and religious leaders in Agonda, led research objectives exploring the local experience of working with land use plans, physical design guidelines, and village-led business developments of tourism and waste management. In the months leading up to our travel, the class studied whatever facts and figures we could find on circulation patterns, land use, construction practices, waste accumulation and disposal, and tourism—which usually meant m CITY | Summer 2013 trying to distill what Agonda might be like from reports on Goa and India at large. Many of us had the opportunity to travel through India before meeting as a group in Delhi. Pratt students arrived from Udaipur, Jodhpur or Jaipur, ready to trade the Thar desert for a week of research along the Arabian Sea and looking to warm the chill we were carrying from the waters of the Ganges in Rishikesh. Rejoined, we very curious of what our work and experience in Agonda might hold. Upon arriving in Agonda, we quickly adjusted to the slower-paced environment and found comfort in amenities we hadn’t yet seen on the trip: the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables sans the fear of food poisoning; the presence of both men and women in public street life; and a /20 / pristine coast with warm waters. Each of these features would make for a well-enjoyed and comfortable week of field studies and workshops. A week of field studies in Agonda resulted in a mix of experiences for each student. Each of us spent most of the day with one other student exploring local conditions ranging from farming and fishing practices to analyzing construction materials and how they varied depending on whether the locale was in a valley, a plain, or hilltop. Some of us found ourselves following behind the local bus trying to document bus practices—who uses them, where they come and go, and how frequently they stop. Most of us, at one point or another, found transport most convenient on some of the local motorized scooters, and thus we were often not only n search of fulfilling our research objectives but also attempting to decode the Agondan horn vernacular; two quick horn bytes signifies a passing, one long horn byte might indicate oncoming danger, a few quick horn bytes is best when approaching a blind curve, and several quick horn bytes is appropriate when oncoming traffic will not return to their lane. With our many memories, each of us leaves with the hope for Agonda to create opportunity from its challenges and with the anticipation of returning one day.
  23. 23. There are many more memories that did not fit so neatly on the page or on the internet—such as that moment when we were all closing the final day of workshops and Caetano, a local resident, approached a group of us to say goodbye. He wished us all well and hoped we would return. He turned to Oscar Nunez in particular and said “You are Goan now, stay, come with me, you must come meet my family for dinner.” With our many memories, each of us leaves with the hope for Agonda to create opportunity from its challenges and with the anticipation of returning one day. Lindsay Donnellon is a second year City and Regional Planning student in Pratt’s Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development. She has been a board member of the Pratt Institute Planning Student Association (PIPSA), and is currently part of the Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative (SAVI) taking shape on campus. Josh Eichen, a Pratt CRP student leads the Land Use Workshop, January 7th 2013 A sketch by Isabel Miesner, a Pratt CRP Student, which appeared in the Design Guidelines part of the report The week of field study ended with two full days of workshops, working with the village to define the future of Agonda’s land use planning, design guidelines, eco-tourism, and waste management as methods to manage future development. While we had planned for our workshops over the course of the fall semester, their success was due much in part to the Goa College of Architecture students, Father Mathew of St. Anne’s Church, and Goan planner Ashok. Without the help of each of these entities and support from the village participants, international community based planning could not be. While it is hard to gauge our impact on the village of Agonda beyond the exchange of laughs, smiles, hugs, dance partners, and computers—we had the opportunity to convene local participants and collectively discuss how land use and design guidelines, better waste management practices, and traditional practices have the potential to influence the future of Agonda’s built and natural environments, health, resiliency, the economy, and the village’s long term sustainability. Our experiences, workshops, and research were distilled into a four-part report covering each of the research objectives, as well as a live travel blog that can be revisited at http:// /21 / m CITY | Summer2013
  24. 24. Tina Lee Graduate Study Abroad Affordable Housing in Twin Cities: New York and São Paulo Professor Perry Wintson and 8 PSPD students traveled to Brazil to observe, first hand, housing conditions in São Paulo, Brazil as part of a Comparative Housing Policy course. This enabled the students to juxtapose the South American city with the New York City, where they currently attend class. During their stay, Centro Gaspar Garcia de Direitos Humanos, a local non-profit organization, led PSPD students on a five-day tour of various forms of low-income housing developments, including Cortiços (or slum tenements) and informal settlements (known as Favelas), located in on the periphery of the city center. São Paulo and New York City are megacities, with over 11 million and over 8 million, respectively. Both cities are densely populated with skyscrapers, are ethnically and culturally diverse, and have burgeoning economies that attract droves seeking fortune and opportunity. Naturally, since the demand for wealth is greater than the supply, both cities face similar challenges in housing the poor. São Paulo’s transformation from industrial to service economy is responsible for exacerbating economic and social polarization and widening the income gulf between the rich and poor since the 1980s. The explanation for the same dichotomy in the US through periods of deindustrialization is not so different. The Coalition of the Homeless reports the rate of homelessness in New York City has increased by 73 percent over the past decade. In São Paulo nearly one third of the total population live in Favelas or Cortiços. Stresses such as under-employment, rising land values, and scant affordable housing options contribute to housing crises in both locations. Making matters worse in São Paulo, preparation for the FIFA World Cup has targeted informal settlements near sites of future football stadiums, where squatters have been systematically evicted by police force. For a Favelas in Sao Paulo. m CITY | Summer 2013 /22 / While perfect solutions do not exist, reform starts at the community level through empowerment. football-crazed country, like Brazil, low-income residents have mixed emotions of pride and despair regarding the 2014 competition. Conversely, rising real estate prices in New York City drive low-income populations away from the center. Even the new stock of low-income housing that has come on the market in recent years is too expensive.
  25. 25. Provisions in the Minha Casa, Minha Vida (My House, My Life) housing program cap the resale prices on home sales to maintain affordability for future eligible low-income families and loan repayment plans are based on the individual family income. While nothing can be absolutely certain, such provisions help secure housing and community tenure that will hopefully last for several generations, beyond 30 years. The juxtaposition of the housing problems in these two cities allowed the students to draw some parallels, and to think of the issues from the bottom up. In the slew of interviews with various residents, systems can always be improved. While perfect solutions do not exist, reform starts at the community level through empowerment.. Villa Patrimonial, a sweat equity housing development in Sao Paulo. Among all the developments visited during the trip, the happiest residents inhabited government-subsidized housing that provided some degree of self-reliance. Vila Patrimonial, a sweat equity housing development, was financed by Brazil’s ‘’Minha Casa, Minha Vida’’ (My House, My Life) affordable housing program, which offers subsidies and finance options for first time, lowincome homebuyers. Habitat for Humanity’s Sweat Equity program is the closest comparable. The Brazilian government relies on non-profit organizations, such as Centro Gaspar Garcia de Direitos Humanos to facilitate such programs. The organization operates on an ethos based on empowerment. They never act on behalf of the residents they are trying to help. Under their guidance, residents actively participate in every stage of home development and essentially learn how to organize, form community meetings and self-manage buildings. Government rent stabilized apartments are also self-managed by the residents. Self-managed and built buildings help keep construction and operating costs down. More importantly, it cultivates opportunities for residents to gather and organize. PSPD students commenced the end of the trip with a presentation of the state of affordable housing in New York City and examples of public housing and homeownership located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and the neighborhood of East New York in Brooklyn. Given the dismal rate of homelessness, it was hard pressed to make arguments that suggest policy superiority, nor was that the point. The ephemeral nature of low-income housing in New York City is sharply criticized for income restrictions that last only 20-30 years. What are residents expected to do thereafter? Income requirements widely used by private developers exclude a significant portion of the population for whom the shortage of affordable housing is most acute. References: Budds, Jessica; Teixerira, and SEHAB. Housing and Citizenship. Ensuring the right to the city: pro-poor housing, urban development and tenure legalization in São Paulo, Brazil. Environment & Urbanization Vol 17. No. 1. April 2005. Tina Lee is in her final semester of the CRP Program. Her focus is in Affordable Housing and Economic Development. Pratt students on the Sao Pailo course. /23 / m CITY | Summer2013
  26. 26. PSPD Accomplishments For the second consecutive year, Pratt Institute was one of 10 colleges and universities nationally recognized with a Climate Leadership Award by Second Nature and the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The awards demonstrate Pratt’s continued leadership in sustainability education. Hello PSPD Alums! The PSPD Alumni Association represents all graduates of Pratt’s Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development and we look forward to providing alumni with relevant events, networking opportunities and a monthly Bulletin that is informative and interesting. This past March, we hosted a PSPDAA Happy Hour in Manhattan and we look forward to hosting more happy hours in the future to give alumni the opportunity to connect with friends and new colleagues. Check out all upcoming events, announcements, Alumni Spotlight interviews and job listings in our monthly Bulletins, which are sent to all PSPD alumni. If you would like to contribute to the monthly Bulletin (any announcements, events, job postings, alumni achievements or future Alumni Spotlight interview candidates), we welcome and appreciate your suggestions! Please send content to PSPDAA Co-Chairs Anna Peccianti and Ryan Cunningham at pspdalumni@ Thank you! m CITY | | Summer 2013 m CITY Summer 2013 Pratt PSPD Professor David Burney was the keynote speaker at the New York Center for Architecture’s Future of the City Symposium moderated by Pratt Professor Ernie Hutton on May 11, 2013. The presentation looked at the intersection between design and public policy in light of Hurricane Sandy and how the city will change into the next mayoral administration. Pratt Institute has announced the launch of a permanent spatial data library on Pratt’s servers. A preliminary collection of data that includes local, regional, national and international content, has been posted and the library will grow over time. Spatial topics include demographic, socioeconomic, housing, transportation, environment, health, zoning data, and more. Data in this library was compiled and published by the Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative (SAVI). Library data can be accessed in all Brooklyn Academic Computing labs. Jacqueline Bejma, a CRP alumnus, has been selected as the first executive director of the Land Assembly for Neighborhood Development (LAND) in Detroit Michigan. In her new role, Bejma will be responsible for overseeing LAND’s portfolio of properties and also the development and implementation of new projects that align with the Detroit Future City Strategic Framework Professor Ron Shiffman was quoted in the New York Times criticizing NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed plan for storm resiliency for not incorporating community-based organizations who acted as “first responders” during Hurricane Sandy. /24 / Professor Alec Appelbaum wrote an op ed for the New York Times on technological “solutions” for urban life. In this piece, Appelbaum argues that higher tech solutions are not always essential tech. He suggests that cities should instead be making savvier investments in cheaper technology that may work better to stoke civic engagement. PSPD alumnus Sara Margolis presented her thesis, Sustainable Stormwater Management on Redeveloped Brownfield Sites in New York City, at the 2013 NYS Floodplain and Stormwater Managers Association Annual Conference in Buffalo, NY Larissa Ortiz Pu-Folkes led a session entitled “Neighborhood-Based Economic Development” at the MAS Livable Neighborhoods Training at Pratt Manhattan on May 11th, 2013. The presentation slides are available at The Municipal Art Society’s Website Pratt Disaster Resilience Network’s video was featured in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for MoMA PS1’s EXPO 1: New York Rockaway Call for Ideas looking at ways to make the Rockaway Waterfront more sustainable
  27. 27. Laura Senkevitch, UESM ‘11, and her organization The Fortune Society have been awarded a 2013 U.S. EPA Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grant! You can read more about the grant here. Congratulations Laura! developments. She currently works in Mumbai developing culturally adaptive senior living community models. James leads sustainability and LEED training for major property and infrastructure solutions firm, in addition to working with clients in pursuit of green projects. Tara Lambeth, CRP ‘11 is now an Urban Studies PhD candidate at the University of New Orleans, and is currently working as a research assistant at the UNO Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology. Congratulations Tara! Building Design + Construction have named Pratt alumni Smita Rawoot (MArch) and James Stawniczy (BArch) members of their 40 under 40 class of 2013. These professionals have distinguished themselves by their achievements, service to the their communities and action participation in charitable work. Smita is experienced in urban planning and mixed-use Joan Byron South Bronx Watershed Alliance Milestone for Sheridan Expressway Campaign The Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance’s 14-year Sheridan Expressway campaign reached a big milestone on May 21, when a two-year study by the Department of City Planning, the Department of Transportation, and the Economic Development Corporation announced as its recommendation a scenario that converts the on-grade segment of the highway into a 4-lane local street, and provides direct access to the Hunts Point peninsula from the elevated Bruckner Expressway. The plan also eliminates several entrance and exit ramps that endanger pedestrians and blight the community’s commercial and transit hub. The SBRWA is a coalition of five South-Bronx based groups: Mothers on the Move, Nos Quedamos, The Point Community Development Corporation, Sustainable South Bronx, and Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, and two citywide advocacy organizations – Tri-State Transportation Campaign and the Pratt Center for Community Development. This coalition model draws on the diverse strengths and organizational cultures of its members, from base-building and youth development to policy analysis and urban planning. Pratt Center staff – Senior Organizer Elena Conte and Policy Director Joan Byron helped the SBRWA to envision an alternative to New York State Department of Transportation’s 1999 proposal to expand the Sheridan along the Bronx River waterfront, and since then, to navigate the regulatory and political processes /25 / that led to a federal TIGER grant that funded the City study. The Sheridan campaign itself grows out of the South Bronx communities’ long-term struggle for Environmental Justice, that has required residents to fight the siting of numerous noxious infrastructure projects, while claiming their share of environmental goods, including the ecological restoration of the Bronx River and the creation of a linear park along its banks. SBRWA members seek to overturn a paradigm that conditions the provision of a healthy and amenable environment on gentrification and displacement. They now face the challenge of ensuring that the TIGER study recommendations are fully implemented – a fight they are more than willing to engage. Summer2013 m CITY ||Summer 2013
  28. 28. School of Architecture m CITY | Summer 2013 /26 /