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Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl have announced seven partnerships for the inaugural Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact (MGCI). The selected initiatives are meant to equitably enhance existing services or public assets while addressing issues like urban planning, literacy, public heath, and criminal justice."Our CreateNYC cultural plan called for thoughtful, innovative ways to integrate our [city]'s creative energy into public service. Today, we continue to put that into action," said Mayor Bill de Blasio, in prepared remarks. "When [city] government works hand in hand with community anchors, we can deliver the cultural access and equity which all New Yorkers deserve." MGCI grows out of CreateNYC, the city's cultural blueprint. That initiative found "major potential" for these types of government-nonprofit collaborations across the arts. The participating organizations were selected through an application process and an open call. Each collaboration garners $50,000 in cash from the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) and $25,000 in matching funds or in-kind services from the partnering group. Taken together, the collaborations are worth over a half a million dollars. In East New York, Brooklyn, neighborhood nonprofit ARTs East NY is teaming up with the Department of City Planning (DCP) for CivLab, a project to activate an underused public space in Success Garden, a slice of green on Williams Avenue between the Livonia L and Pennsylvania Ave 2/3 trains. While building off of the city's rezoning of the neighborhood for higher density and more affordable housing, the project will try to integrate the arts into civic life.
"We are excited to take part in this extension of the CreateNYC Cultural Plan. This initiative will allow us to deepen our work with community members in revitalizing vacant spaces in the East New York community, replacing them with reflective beauty and pride," said Catherine Green, founder and executive director of ARTs East New York.Like the six other teams, ARTs East NY and DCP have until June 30—the end of the fiscal year—to carry out their program.
Other partnerships include the Bronx Documentary Center's collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and a joint Carnegie Hall–Department of Probation initiative. A full list and project descriptions can be found here.
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Five years later, AN considers Hurricane Sandy’s impact on New York’s built environment
. . .This is by no means a comprehensive look at the thousands of initiatives, local and national, that have shaped the city in the five years after Hurricane Sandy. Below, we scan some initiatives that are remaking the built environment. For housing, Build It Back is one of the city's key programs to quickly rebuild dwellings in waterside neighborhoods post-Sandy. So far, the city reports its Build It Back program has completed repairs on around 7,200 structures, or 87 percent of the housing in the program. Since its launch in 2013, the program has rebuilt almost 1,400 of the most severely damaged homes, raising them on stilts above the floodplain. Another 6,500 homeowners, many without flood insurance, received reimbursements for repairs and technical support. “As we near the end of the Build It Back program, we are continuing to make steady progress," Mayor Bill de Blasio said, in prepared remarks. "We have succeeded in getting more than 10,000 families back in safe and resilient homes and stronger communities. We have more work to do, and this program will not be done until every family is home.” Though the city is close to reaching its goals, last year the program's creator slammed Build It Back as a "categorical failure," largely because it didn't get residents back in their homes quick enough. "After the multi-billion dollar rebuilding process ends, neighborhoods will see a hodgepodge of housing types: elevations, demolitions, in-kind repairs—is that the best outcome?"asked Brad Gair, former head of the mayor's Housing Recovery Operations, at a July 2016 hearing. "Have the billions invested in infrastructure projects to reduce flood risk made our coastlines safer?" DNAinfo reported that Gair questioned the government's capacity to set up "what amounts to a multi-billion dollar corporation" in a few months to speedily re-home people. At that time, Mayor de Blasio stated that the program's work would be complete by the end of 2016. Today the Daily News reported that almost one-fifth of the 12,000-plus families in the program are still waiting for a buyout or work to wrap up on their properties.
. . .All along the city's 520 miles of coastline, new dunes, bulkheads, and sea walls are intended to prevent the catastrophic flooding that characterized Sandy. Even with the latest interventions, is New York City really prepared for another superstorm? While offering hope for a more resilient future, new climate projections sow doubt on the city's viability over the next century and beyond. A new study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that floods that with a high-water mark of 7.4 feet could hit the city once every 25 years, and the same level of floods could come as frequently as every five years between 2030 and 2045. Superstorms could be more intense, but modeling indicates that they would move further offshore. Tottenville Shoreline Protection Project and Living Breakwaters, two resiliency strategies at the southern tip of Staten Island. None of these massive projects have yet broken ground.
Five years after #SuperstormSandy was supposed to have taught the U.S. a lesson about the dangers of living on an undefended coast, there’s still no city that’s truly prepared for the challenges of #ClimateChange and the storms it will deliver. @AP https://t.co/HXJDIq8b7K pic.twitter.com/W5kFdu7zDI— Ed Joyce (@EdJoyce) October 27, 2017