The New York Restoration Project (NYRP) has launched a petition to turn more than 360 lots deemed unbuildable into parks, gardens, and other green spaces, often in underserved neighborhoods. These lots are considered unusable for building because of their odd size, shape, or proneness to flooding. Rather than leaving them abandoned, the NYRP is offering to transform these patches of land into usable green spaces. They are petitioning the Mayor's office to place this land under their care. Public parks are an incredibly valuable part of a neighborhood, with benefits to quality of life for residents as well as potential for urban farming and use as a community space. Parks are often few and far between in the neighborhoods that need them most, while those in more affluent neighborhoods tend to have more resources available for maintenance. By acquiring this otherwise unusable land from the city and relying on volunteers for labor, the NYRP would be able to provide an essential service to underserved neighborhoods in all five boroughs at a low cost, as well as cleaning up the vacant lots. The NYRP just celebrated the 20th anniversary of its founding by Bette Midler in 1995. The non-profit organization revitalizes neglected parks across the five boroughs, specifically in underserved neighborhoods. In 1999, Midler and the NYRP led a coalition to save 114 community gardens being auctioned off by the city for commercial development. They now maintain 52 of those community gardens with the help of volunteers. The organization also completed their MillionTreesNYC initiative on November 20, 2015, two years ahead of schedule. With the help of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, the NYRP planted one million trees across the five boroughs. They also offer free trees for New Yorkers to plant in their yards. Sign the petition here, and find more opportunities to donate or volunteer on the NYRP website.
Posts tagged with "green space":
A residential development in downtown Minneapolis is set to give the city its first woonerf, a road type developed in the Netherlands that integrates vehicle traffic and parking with pedestrians, bicyclists and public amenities. The BKV Architects–designed Mill City Quarter housing breaks ground later this year, starting with a six-story building that will include up to 150 rental housing units priced to be affordable for those making 60 percent of the metropolitan median income or less. Later phases will add more units, say developers Wall Cos. and Lupe Development Partners, including 45 units for those with memory problems and 105 for assisted and independent living. Taking up the block at the northwest corner of 2nd Street and 3rd Avenue, the development hopes to connects the Mill District—home to the popular riverside Mill City Museum, Guthrie Theater, and soon a massive mixed-use development in the shadow of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium—with the rehabbed warehouses and thriving cultural scene of the North Loop neighborhood. Bisecting that block is a former rail corridor leading toward Mississippi River trails and a riverside visitor center that Minneapolis' Park Board has proposed for just downstream of the 3rd Avenue Bridge. Mill City Quarter's developers have agreed to make that side street into a woonerf with 80 diagonal parking spaces flanking colored pavement demarcating reduced-speed vehicle traffic, green space, bike lanes and pedestrian zones. Minneapolis' Park Board approved plans for the “amenity-rich plaza street,” through the $73.8 million development, but expressed concerns over developer and former City Council member Steve Minn's plans to install a gate at the park end of the woonerf, which he said he'd keep closed during park off-hours, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. By exempting the development from a new parks law that would require them to donate land to public space, the Park Board gave their agreement some teeth—if the developers restrict public access to the land they could be on the hook for $61,400.
The redevelopment of Indianapolis' Market Square area continues with the announcement that Deborah Berke Partners of New York City will work with locally based RATIO Architects on a 10-story office tower and “significant public green space” to replace a surface parking lot. In renderings released Wednesday, a slim, glassy tower hefts the bulk of its block-wide breadth southward, collecting sunlight as it reaches a low-rise mass around lush green space bordered by Market, Alabama, Washington, and New Jersey streets. Green roofs blanket both buildings, which will each have about 15,000 square feet of first-floor retail fronting onto a pedestrian plaza. The programs include a parking garage and conference center, as well as office space and retail. Columbus, Indiana–based Cummins makes and services natural gas engines and other fuel systems, employing about 48,000 people worldwide. About 250 workers, including top executives, will move into the building immediately, reported the Indianapolis Star, assuming the plan passes a City-County Council vote that could come as early as December 17. Mayor Greg Ballard has already voiced support for the project, which he said in a statement “raises the bar for architecture in Indy and will stand as a bold and visually compelling gateway into the city.” The building's form, a kinked rectangular prism, is slightly stepped and shifted to maximize natural light inside the office tower. Black, rib-like mullions vary the facade's texture when viewed from an angle. Local architect Wil Marquez told the Star it represents "a new type of architecture for Indianapolis." “This is the new vocabulary in architecture, tying together buildings and green space,” Marquez said. Along with a 28-story residential tower planned across the street, a rebuilt plaza space nearby and a sleek, new $20 million transit center by the City-County Building, Cummins' plans represent somewhat of a rebirth for this long neglected corner of downtown Indianapolis. Deborah Berke Partners beat out New York colleagues SHoP Architects and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects for the job.
With Detroit bankrupt and under the authority of a state-appointed emergency manager, all options for the city's future are on the table. But not all news out of the infamously depopulated city is about cutting back. A new park downtown broke ground this week, and plans surfaced for a massive urban forest on Detroit’s southeast side. Construction began this week on a downtown park, the future site of Mini Campus Martius. DTE Energy has cleared a parking lot and two small buildings on a roughly triangular patch of land near its “West Downtown” headquarters. Meanwhile, after five years of preparation, a plan to transform 140 acres of vacant land on the city’s southeast side into an urban forest got approval from the state and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. Hantz Farms, a venture of financier John Hantz, will buy the land for more than $500,000, clear 50 abandoned structures, maintain the property and plant 15,000 trees in the coming years. Clearing the land could cost another $600,000. That’s money the people behind Hantz Woodlands hope to recover in time. “This is designed to be a for-profit enterprise,” Hantz Farms’ President Mike Score told The Atlantic Cities. “I can assure you we have a business plan and we don’t have any anxiety about achieving our goals.” That plan begins with building trust among community members, before Hantz gets to planting apple orchards and shrubbery. Score said the transition from blight to burgeoning urban forest should take four years.