HT / reblog from Dissent! magazine post by
Activists in New York City’s storied South Bronx are turning their attention to critical issues facing their neighborhood: environmental justice and gentrification. Last November, responding to a real estate developer’s attempt to rebrand Mott Haven “the Piano District,” South Bronx Unite members joined fellow Bronx residents for a rally at Borough President Ruben Diaz’s hearing on housing. They blasted Diaz for attending the real estate developer’s “Bronx is Burning” party, as well as for his backing of the FreshDirect relocation.
South Bronx Unite’s involvement in battles over environmental justice as well as over housing and gentrification points back to the deeper question of who controls public land, and to what end. To this twofold problem, the group has presented a novel solution: a community land trust. In 2015, the group joined with fellow community groups such as Friends of Brook Park to form the Mott Haven-Port Morris Community Land Trust, as well as to release a statement of principles for private developers looking to build in the neighborhood. Johnson explains that the campaign against FreshDirect and the community land trust are “related because we’ve seen what’s going on with public land and it’s not really benefiting the public. . . . The leasing of that land [twenty-five] years ago to a private entity for ninety-nine years, the mass purchasing of land in our community by private developers to build with our public moneys and without zoning changes. That’s all related to the needs of our community and our efforts to control our own public land.”
From community land trusts and community gardens to low-income housing co-ops and credit unions — shared equity strengthens and expands community-led democratically-controlled initiatives working to build an urban economy based on values of social and racial justice, ecological sustainability, cooperation, mutualism, and democracy.
Sounds good, right?
To hear more, join CEANYC (the Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City) on April 22 between 1-3pm at Artists Space (55 Walker Street — Manhattan) for a panel discussion on community resistance and creativity. Learn about the long history of solidarity economy efforts in New York City and ideas for continuing to fight and build.
The New York Public Library has a layered material history in the city. It arose on the site of the old Croton Reservoir, a critical infrastructure for the city… When the library was established, it was built on a reservoir model. It was meant to serve as a comprehensive repository of knowledge. But there is a conceptual shift happening today moving away from libraries as catch-all repositories toward libraries as nodes in a larger network. Each institution has to figure out the unique role it can play in strengthening that network: through technical and financial contributions, community participation, and their particular collecting, preservation, and outreach strategies — the unique work they do as libraries.
(By David W. Dunlap – urban treasure at the NY Times)
With the recent death of John Belle, New York City has lost an architect who conveyed a genial joy in resuscitating the masterworks of his predecessors. That made him an appealingly modest figure in a room full of big architectural egos, since he was at his best when his own interventions were least obvious.
New York has also lost a link to the intellectual crucible of the 1960s, when Jane Jacobs and others demanded that architects stop obliterating the past and, instead, take time to understand the many ways in which people were well served by older buildings and neighborhoods.