October 1, 2014
Dave Cable, Executive Director
Yesterday’s gathering at the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) offices was informative and exciting. This was the first of many meetings of the core leadership team for Resilience in the Public Realm, an innovative and unique project made possible by the generous support of the Knight Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation. The core team guides the project and conducts much of the work, and includes a broad and deep talent pool of community engagements specialists, architects and landscape architects, planners, public health professionals and spatial analysts. This is an extraordinary group of experienced leaders from a broad swath of disciplines.
The Resiliency Project is an interdisciplinary effort to identify, connect, increase accessibility to, and otherwise bring to life natural areas and open spaces in the Mott Haven community in the South Bronx. The project also aims to quantify the impacts of accessible green spaces and enhanced tree canopy on quality of life, public health, and crime. Outcomes measurement is absolutely core to the project, and this aspect is one of many ways this project is different from other efforts.
Charlotte has the exciting opportunity to shadow this effort over the next year, with an eye toward possible application here. TreesCharlotte is fortunate and honored to serve as lead agency for the shadowing experience. The implications for our community are difficult to assess at this stage, but the potential for influencing community capital projects is profound.
Yesterday’s group discussion revealed tension between ensuring the comprehensive reach of the study and the need for simplicity and near-term progress. Finding the proper level of community engagement was also discussed. The potential scope of the project is a bit daunting, but I have a strong sense the brilliant minds involved in this effort and the leadership of Deborah Marton, NYRP CEO, will find the sweet spot of focus.
Next Update: Post-October 16 following the project’s first community meeting in Mott Haven.