Growing PowersNational-International Urban & Small Farm Conference Samuel H. Sage, Paul M. Harris & Hongbin Gao 09.07.2012 ATLANTIC STATES LEGAL FOUNDATION, INC.
About ASLF New York based not-for-profit, headquartered in the Near Westside area in the City of Syracuse Established in 1982 to provide legal, technical, and organizational services to individuals and organizations dealing with environmental issues Has been taking a leading role in protection and restoration of Syracuse waterways and addressing CSO issues Is incorporating innovative strategies to improve economic, social , and environmental sustainability in urban life
Planning Issues for Urban America Air & Water Pollution Insufficient Urban Green Space Population Shifting Climate Change and Basic Crime Living High Unemployment Food Deserts Transportation Vacancy
Urban Agriculture’s Potential Roles inToday’s Urban Life Environmental Reduce energy consumption for and emissions from food transportation Preserve urban open/green space Reduce urban heat islands Mitigate stormwater runoff Increase biodiversity
Urban Agriculture’s Potential Roles inToday’s Urban Life Socially Implement food justice strategies and improve food security, particularly for underserved inner city communities Bring about social cohesiveness and create a sense of community Reduce crime rate Introduce healthier food and life style
Urban Agriculture’s Potential Roles inToday’s Urban Life Economically Create jobs for urban dwellers from all socioeconomic backgrounds Create local business Reduce transportation Reduce energy cost
The Impacts Economically draining for city Lower property values Visual quality degradation High rates of crime and arson Property Value Degradation around A Vacant Property Public health issues Source: Temple University Center for Public Policy and Eastern Pennsylvania Organizing Project. “Blight Free Philadelphia: A Public-Private Strategy to Create and Enhance Neighborhood Value.” Philadelphia, 2001.
The Opportunities Urban agriculture Stormwater retention Public green space Urban infill development Urban forestry A Vegetable Garden on A Former Vacant Lot in Cleveland, OH Source: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/08/growing-self-sufficient-cities/ Habitat creation and conservation
The Benefits of Reclaiming UrbanVacant Land Produce fresh food Increase property value Create jobs Reduce heat island effect Beautify community Create and conserve urban open space Mitigate pollution Save municipal cost on Reduce crime maintenance Revitalize inner city community Introduce healthy life style
Background: The Issue Onondaga Lake, one of the most polluted lakes in North America
Background: The Issue (cont.) Municipal Source of Pollution: Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Diagram of a Combined Sewer Overflow System. Adapted from “CSOs Explained” Official City of Bremerton Site.
The Process: ACJ ASLF and the NYS-DEC 1988 lawsuit against Onondaga County under the Clean Water Act METRO Consent Judgment Amended Consent Judgment (ACJ, January 1998) The key legal document Outlined two dozen projects for the County Extensive monitoring program
The Process: The 4th Stip to ACJ 2009 The court order requires Onondaga County to use GRAY and GREEN infrastructure addressing CSOs Gray Infrastructure: Commitment to 88.7% annual volume capture in by 2013 Green Infrastructure (GI): Commitment to an additional 6.3% annual volume capture in Green Infrastructure commencing immediately in 2009, resulting in 95% total annual volume capture by 2018
The Solution: Save the Rain (STR) A GI program created by the County Encompasses the storm water and GI initiatives Educates the public about issues and how they can use and benefit from GI Initiatives GI on public land Green Improvement Fund: GI on private land Rain Barrel Program Urban Forestry Program STR-Vacant Lot Program (VLP)
VLP Program Goals Reduce minimum of 9 million gallons of CSO by 2018 with GI on publicly owned vacant lots Provide different forms of GREEN infrastructure projects for Save The Rain Simultaneously reclaim greenspace in a useful way and improve value of vacant lots to community Engage public in GI maintenance for Save The Rain
Syracuse Vacant Lot Inventory 3,668 vacant parcels in the City of Syracuse (2012 data) 1,786 vacant parcels (392 ac.) in combined sewer service area where GI projects are required for managing stormwater and CSO’s 828 publicly owned vacant parcels which could be potentially used Vacant Lots in the City of Syracuse.
Syracuse Vacant Lot Inventory 814 of 828 public vacant parcels are under City ownership City of Syracuse Ownership NYS County City City Seizable Total City TD Owned Agencies Parcels Parcels 6 8 78 120 37 579 828Inventory Acreage 2.26 7.39 36.72 28.33 6.09 107.27 188.06 Parcels 0 0 24 60 25 332 441Candidates Acreage 0 0 6.92 12 5.06 80.14 104.12
VLP: A Joint Venture Between Onondaga County and City of Syracuse Initiated in 2011 by Onondaga County Funded by Onondaga County to built GI projects on City owned vacant lots Developed collaboratively to fit under both governments’ immediate planning goals Based on the agreement that defines the County’s and the City’s responsibilities in O&M of the VLP projects The City of Syracuse Ordinance that depicts the City-County Agreement on installing GI on the City Developed and coordinated by ASLF properties
VLP’s Reclamation Typologies Urban Orchard Community Garden (Ornamental or Vegetable) Urban Forest/Tree Planting Combined with other GI practices such as rain garden, cistern, bioswale, stormwater planter, etc. to manage stormwater runoff VLP Pilot Project Rendering: Urban Orchard at 701 Oswego Street, Syracuse, New York
VLP Projects: 2011 Before AfterVLP Pilot Project: Urban Orchard at 701 Oswego Street, Syracuse, New York
VLP Projects: 2012 Concept Field Work 50% Design Project Status Bid Phase Total Phase Phase Phase Number of 7 3 3 3 16 Projects
Community Involvement in VLP Outreach to general public and communities near project sites Coordination with community in planning & design process (community meetings, design workshops) Community participation in maintenance (organized to ensure the quality of performance) Green job training and job creation
Further Needs and Challenges Long-term ownership and O&M mechanism Alternatives Under public ownership Under private ownership and operation Land Trust model O&M Produce Taxes Utilities
Further Needs and Challenges Public acceptance and involvement in projects Safety issues related to urban farming on abandoned land Lawn VS Native Garden Tree(s) VS Forest An integral planning process to incorporate all stakeholders’ interests and meet their needs, particularly for urban agriculture typologies under VLP
Legitimize the Process Adaptation of Zoning and Land Use Policy Adaptation of Food Policy Guidelines for Growing Safe Food (on Potentially Contaminated Vacant Land) Incorporation of Urban Agriculture in Urban Planning Agenda
Identify and Engage Key Stakeholders Different levels of government Relevant departments and professionals Local leaders and councils Private sector Landowners Academic organizations or research institutes NGOs, social movements, grassroots and religious organizations
Develop/Adopt Appropriate Urban AgricultureTypes for Vacant Lot Management Community Garden Allotment Garden Urban Commercial Farm Side-yard Garden School Garden
For More Information Atlantic States Legal Foundation, Inc. 658 West Onondaga Street, Syracuse, New York 13204 315-475-1170. firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.aslf.org/ Onondaga County Save The Rain Program http://savetherain.us/