Posts tagged with "Bushwick":

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Bushwick residents push for grassroots rezoning

Residents of Bushwick, Brooklyn are taking planning into their own hands to preserve their neighborhood's character and forestall gentrification. Residents, neighborhood organizations, and members of Brooklyn Community Board 4 hosted a land use meeting this week to discuss the Bushwick Community Plan, a grassroots rezoning agenda to bring more affordable housing to the neighborhood's main thoroughfares, prevent tall towers at mid-block, and create a historic district along Bushwick Avenue, among other objectives. Around 200 residents showed up to the meeting, the culmination of work that began four years ago in response to the Rheingold Brewery rezoning. "I live in Bushwick, I don't know who I displaced out of my apartment," resident Sean Thomas told DNAinfo. Thomas has called the neighborhood home for two years, and he came to learn about his role in gentrification. The next meetings, in April and May, will focus on transit and open space planning, and economic development, respectively. Stakeholders will then draft a proposal for consideration by the city later this year. "It's crucial for this plan to be successful," said local activist Edwin Delgado. "If we leave things the way they are it's just going to be a continuation of what's going on... It's sad." More information on the Bushwick Community Plan and upcoming meetings can be found here. Despite residents' enthusiasm for community planning, New York has an uneven record of actually implementing these grassroots rezoning proposals. In 2001, the city accepted Greenpoint and Williamsburg residents' rezoning proposal—only to enact zoning in 2005 that contradicted the community's wishes. The city's plan encouraged tall towers on the waterfront, which caused property values to rise and engendered the displacement of mostly low-income residents of color. More recently, Mayor Bill de Blasio has made neighborhood-scale rezoning a priority, with plans to rezone Jerome Avenue, the Bronx; East Harlem, Manhattan; and East New York, Brooklyn (plus a now-tabled rezone of West Flushing, Queens).
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A new online map could help fight gentrification and displacement in Bushwick

A familiar narrative of urban change is playing out in what one clickbait article after another deems "the world's coolest neighborhood": Naive hipster newcomers, purveyors of mallcore architecture, and real estate speculators are descending on Bushwick, Brooklyn, raising rents and displacing the longtime Latino community. This time, Local group NORTH WEST BUSHWICK COMMUNITY is fighting back, with maps. The group, a coalition of neighborhood activists, recently launched the North West Bushwick Community Map, an online tool that shares urban planning and housing data with residents and activists to mobilize against the twin forces of gentrification and displacement. The map depicts an area roughly bounded by Flushing Avenue to the east; Cypress Avenue to the north; Cemetery of the Evergreens to the west; and Broadway to the south. Over the base map, users can toggle between six layers that reveal patterns of development and residential stability: Tax Lots, Year Built, Land Use, Vacant Land, Available FAR, and Likely Rent Stabilized. There's an overlay that depicts "DOB Jobs" in two categories—new buildings and A1 (major alterations)—as well as one that shares "Sites of Gentrification." Also included are three interviews with a longtime artist-resident (link was dead at press time); an organizer with Make the Road, and a co-founder of Silent Barn, the beloved DIY venue-slash-community space. Like all maps, this one richly illustrates its makers' outlook and objectives, explicitly and by omission. Average rents in Bushwick have increased six percent over last year, and the group takes a decidedly dim view of the landlords and real estate actors that affect change in the neighborhood. Gentrification and displacement are "urban vices," which lends a moral imperative to the map—housing as a human right. The creators note that investors and real estate agents use "costly websites" to search for properties and that Bushwick, consequently, needed a free map to chart—and combat—changes. (It's not clear if this map could be a boon for investors, as its wealth of granular information could be used to pinpoint particularly vulnerable blocks, for example.) AN reached out to NORTH WEST BUSHWICK COMMUNITY for comment, but a representative from the group could not be reached at press time. According to the group's site, beta testing for the map launched in 2014, and the final version debuted at an August 25 launch party. The map key states that many residents are not aware that they may be living in rent-stabilized units, which comprise almost one-third of Bushwick's housing stock, or that there is legal recourse for fighting shady landlords who push out rent-stabilized tenants to score a vacancy increase. Community organizers who fight displacement can use the map to pinpoint housing trends and focus their efforts accordingly. Through the "Sites of Gentrification" tab, the map highlights recent struggles over zoning and development at Colony 1209, a development where studios rent for close to $1900 per month; and at the former Rheingold Brewery, which ODA is redeveloping as a one-million-square-foot "European Village." The "Research" tab includes helpful graphics that explain FAR, as well as links to research on rent regulation, DOB Violations, ULURPS, ACRIS, and other handy acronym-heavy resources for right-to-the-city reformers.
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ODA unveils amenity-packed zigzagging rental building in Bushwick

ODA has unveiled renderings for a massive new residential complex in Bushwick, Brooklyn—and it certainly reminds us of Bjarke Ingels’ 8 House in Copenhagen with its doughnut-like shape and landscaped roof that dips toward the street. At nearly 400,000 square feet, ODA’s 10 Montieth Street will become a major piece in the redevelopment of the Rheingold Brewery site.   The 392-unit rental building is quite obviously geared toward younger tenants that have been flocking to the neighborhood in recent years. Above the building’s apartments—most of which are studios or one-bedrooms—is that 25,000-square-foot roof, which packs more amenities than a three-day Carnival Cruise. According to the Real Deal, 10 Montieth’s zigzagging roof has a “running/hiking course, urban farming areas and an outdoor cross-training facility.” There is also apparently a “chill space” and some graffiti walls so renters can take the edge off if urban farming isn’t going as planned. They could also probably use the 19,000-square-foot courtyard as a “chill space.” Good to have options. The building’s protruding volumes and balconies give it the boxy design aesthetic we have come to expect from ODA. The geometric exterior is primarily clad in light gray stone or concrete and has pronounced orange window frames. ODA adds contrast to the project by using darker materials on the sections of the building that are set back from the street.