RE: RE: NY garden settlement - NYC Land Use 101
- Subject: RE: [cg] RE: NY garden settlement - NYC Land Use 101
- From: "Honigman, Adam" Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com
- Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2002 16:46:26 -0400
wish it were so! But the city does not see that it has an "open space
crisis", only a city with a terrible shortfall of affordable housing ( the
builders won't invest in it) and a dearth of office space ( while hundreds of
thousands of square feet go unrented in the wake of September 11th.)
Dealing with the city sometimes seems like trying to
reason with a 500 pound, evil-tempered four year old with a hammer in its hand.
It's only through grass roots political action, involvement with the political
process and far too many public meetings and boards that gardeners have any
voice whatsoever in the city's land use process.
history: The lots on which most of NYC's community gardens were developed in the
1970s originally had housing and manufacturing sited on them. With the great
migration of white ethnic working class folks to the suburbs starting in
the late 50's -70's, the epidemic of arson in the '60s & '70s by landlords
bailing out, and the loss of close to 2.5 million manufacturing jobs during that
time, the city came close to bankruptcy due to the lack of tax revenues.
that time, gardeners started up community gardens because they were tired of the
physical devastation around them. The city, which thought we were crazy,
even gave us some clean soil and support at that time ( this was also the era
that 50 million dollars of Federal money was appropriated for urban
Currently, the very attractiveness of these gardens
makes them attractive to developers as potential building sites ( a developer
sees some tomatoes and he dreams of studios renting for over $2,000 a month.) As
gardens improve the neighborhoods around them, the garden sites become yet more
sad fact is that the housing and light industrial needs of this city could have
been accomodated by using any of the 7,000 -10,000 odd non-garden lots
in the city's inventory. In reality, not a single community garden
needs to be sacrificed, especially with the large backlog of empty
lots that this city possesses. But, as the gardens are sited on NYC
land, the city feels that this is a revenue stream that it needs ( more
than ever after 9/11). Throw in developers and local political figures on the
make, and you can understand the real estate pressures in this town.
a place where the words "urban planning" are an oxymoron. It makes for
interesting architecture at times, but most often, we get gluts of office
buildings that are often empty.
not a level playing field - its like suddenly being thrust into an American
Professional Football game without pads, shoes, helmet or even a basic
understanding of the rules and...the other side cheats and is paying off the
still have some gardens, and we keep on working on these issues
Another thing to keep in mind, Oliver, is that New York City has thousands
of truly vacant lots to develop on, and far too little green space. While the
lots have been getting wolfed up by developers in the last few years, I would
imagine that they're not so hot on developing many of them in the tanking
economy. So they'll sit there, some of them actually former garden sites, and
become what they were before the gardens were there - vacant, trash-filled
lots. Meanwhile, New York has only begun to think about solving its open space
crisis. Every garden that is demolished worsens the problem needlessly.
Do you Yahoo!?
New DSL Internet
Access from SBC & Yahoo!