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The video above is the trailer for the documentary Some Place Like Home – The Fight Against Gentrification in Downtown Brooklyn, produced by Task Force member organization Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE). The Accountable Development Working Group and the Fifth Avenue Committee host a free screening on Wednesday, June 24 at 7pm at the Fifth Avenue Committee’s office, 621 DeGraw Street, near 4th Ave., Brooklyn.  From 6-7pm there will be an abridged meeting of the Accountable Development Working Group – the last monthly meeting until autumn.

Admission is FREE and refreshments will be served!  Small business owners and residents interviewed in the film will be on hand for Q & A.

To RSVP (not necessary but helpful) or further info, contact FAC at 718 237-2017, ext 148 or


Each and every one of our city’s community boards is currently facing a budget cut of $35,000. Your community board provides a range of services vital to your community’s welfare, from overseeing essential municipal services, to ensuring that you have a voice in local decision-making, to serving as a place-based provider of constituent services. Community boards are the public’s interface with New York City’s enormous and complex government, and they are also government agencies’ conduit to the public.  Meaning, for example, that when the Department of Health needs to update a community on the spread of the H1N1 virus, it asks the community board for help with outreach.

Boards already suffer from underfunding, and cuts this deep mean that the public loses out the most:  fewer resources will mean tough choices about how to prioritize the many demands made on community boards every day as they struggle to both perform City Charter-mandated responsibilities and attend to the growing needs of constituents.

On Tuesday, June 9, at 11:00 a.m., on the steps of City Hall, join all five of New York’s borough presidents, all 59 of New York’s community boards, and community advocates of all stripes, in calling on the City Council for the restoration of community board budgets for the coming fiscal year. (This rally has been organized by the Manhattan Borough President’s Office.)

Following up on last week’s Atlantic Yards hearing, project opponents Develop, Don’t Destroy Brooklyn will hold a community meeting to provide updates on the plan: Tuesday June 9, 7pm at Lafayette Avenue Church, 85 S. Oxford Street in Fort Greene.  Speakers will include Council Member Letitia James, Pratt Institute’s Ron Shiffman, Develop Don’t Destroy’s Daniel Goldstein, (all of whom are members of the Community-Based Planning Task Force) and others.

Do you have thoughts you would like to share about the proposed Atlantic Yards development?  If you’re like us, you definitely do!  Now you finally have a chance to weigh in on this proposed $4 billion Brooklyn mega-project.

The Community-Based Planning Task Force will join City and State agencies, environmentalists, planners, and other community members and advocates to give testimony at a public hearing on Atlantic Yards on Friday, held by State Senators Bill Perkins and Velmanette Montgomery.  Oral testimony on Friday is invite-only, but the public may submit testimony via email.

According to an email announcement about the hearing, it’s purpose is the following: “This hearing will trace the history of the Atlantic Yards project to determine its current status. The Committee’s intent is to examine the process by which decisions are made, to understand where the project is now, and to envision where this project might lead. Issues involved include but are not limited to whether this is the best possible deal for taxpayers and the local community; whether the use of eminent domain is necessary and is it being exercised responsibly; the meaning and use of the concept of ‘blight’ in condemnations; what is a ‘public benefit’ sufficient to justify massive state action; and what are the financials?”

The Task Force’s testimony, which we will post online soon, will focus on three main points:

1) The ongoing debate over Atlantic Yards shows the need for a comprehensive plan to precede major land use actions;

2) the public should have a strong voice in the use of eminent domain; and

3) community-initiated alternative plans should be given more weight in the decision-making process.

Although they cannot testify, members of the public may attend the hearing:

Friday, May 29
1PM – 5 PM
Pratt Institute, Higgins Hall
61 St. James Place (corner Lafayette Ave.)
Brooklyn, NY 11238

For some great background on the issues, check out Atlantic Yards Report’s extensive overview of questions that should arise at the hearing.

Last weekend, Task Force members the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership teamed up with the Storefront for Art and Architecture to bring the Space Buster, a portable bubble designed by German architecture firm Raumlabor, to a space underneath the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.  Participants from the neighborhood gathered inside the bubble to envision how the space might be enlivened, and came up with a number of ideas, from a community garden to a swimming pool.  Check out a set of photographs and drawings from the event (such as the one seen above) at Myrtle Minutes.

The Department of Transportation’s NYC Plaza Program partners the agency with local non-profit organizations to turn underutilized DOT property into thriving public space.  DOT funds design and construction of the new plaza, while the non-profits are responsible for maintenance, programming, community outreach, a long-term funding plan, etc.

DOT recently selected nine  sites in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan, for Round One of the Plaza Program.  These sites were chosen based on the City’s goals as outlined in PlaNYC 2030, and the following criteria:

  • Open space – whether or not the neighborhood lacked open space
  • Community initiative – the extent to which the applicant had developed a community plan, consensus for the site, and garnered local support
  • Site context – the proposed site’s relationship to surrounding land uses and businesses, proximity to transit, the presence of significant view corridors or historic sites, and pedestrian activity
  • Organizational capacity – the extent to which the applicant is willing and able to program activities, maintain, operate and manage the plaza once it is built
  • Income eligibility – applicants received additional points for proposals located in neighborhoods that qualify as low- or moderate-income

DOT is about to begin Round 2 of this initiative, and is holding informational sessions in each borough:

Monday, May 4
3-4 pm
220 Church, Rm. 814
New York, NY 10013

Tuesday, May 12
3-4 pm
Brooklyn Borough Hall, Community Room
209 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Staten Island
Tuesday, May 19
3-4 pm
Staten Island Borough Hall
10 Richmond Terrace, Conference Room 122
Staten Island, NY 10301

Wed, May 13
3-4 pm
Bronx Library Center
310 East Kingsbridge Road
Bronx, NY 10458

Interested parties should RSVP to The deadline to submit applications is Tuesday, June 30, 2009.

The Accountable Development Working Group, a project of the Fifth Avenue Committee, meets this Wednesday evening (April 29th)  from 6-8pm, at Fifth Avenue Committee -621 DeGraw St. near Fourth Avenue (R train to Union).  The agenda is as follows:

  • Gowanus Canal Superfund nomination.
  • Formation of a Gowanus tenants’ union?
  • Sunset Park Rezoning — it’s moving!
  • Sunset Park housing survey — volunteers needed!

For more information, or to RSVP, contact Dave Powell via email or (718) 237-2017 ext 148.

On Saturday, May 16th the Municipal Art Society Planning Center will launch the third annual Livable Neighborhoods Program training at Hunter College. Join over one hundred New Yorkers from neighborhoods across the city to learn more about how to make positive transformations in your neighborhood. Past facilitators have included Tom Angotti of the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development, Anthony Borelli of the Manhattan Borough President’s Office and Vicki Weiner of the Pratt Center for Community Development.

Important Information:

Date and Time: Saturday May 16, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Registration Deadline: Friday, May 1, 2009
Who Can Attend? Registration is open the public, however priority is given to members of grassroots organizations and community boards.
What Is The Cost? Participation in the program is free.
Where Is The Training? The training will take place at Hunter College with special assistance from Hunter College’s Center for Community Planning and Development (CCPD). Hunter College is located at 695 Park Ave (Manhattan). Corner of 68th Street and Lexington Ave.
Will Food Be Served? Yes. We will provide breakfast and lunch.

Can I Bring My Child? Yes. The LNP is designed to be as convenient for participants as possible. We will have a supervised children’s activity room available for children school age and up.

To register online please visit

For more information, please contact Sideya Sherman, at or call 212.935.3960 x259.

Spring has sprung and with it comes many interesting ways to get involved in your community!  Here are some highlights taking place this week (check our calendar for more details):

Monday 4/20: Community Forum on Randall’s Island – Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and a number of other elected officials host this forum to discuss the use of Randall’s Island (see previous post).

Wednesday 4/22: Chinatown/Lower East Side Waterfront Visioning –  Join the O.U.R. Waterfront Coalition for a community visioning session on the Chinatown/Lower East Side waterfront.  From their announcement: “CAAAV and the O.U.R. Waterfront Coalition have been working since 2007 to ensure that the LES and Chinatown’s waterfront is developed for community residents, with services, programs, and businesses that WE want, instead of being developed by the City for wealthy residents and tourists. Now, we want to hear your ideas for our waterfront so that we can turn your ideas into reality! Come to our free and public visioning sessions to share your thoughts, hopes, and dreams for our waterfront!” 6pm, 184 Eldridge Street (in English and Chinese)

Saturday 4/25:  Greenpoint/Williamsburg Housing Forum -Sponsored by the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Tenant Anti-Displacement Collaborative, this community forum will include information on such issues as:  Forming tenants associations; Rent over-charges for stabilized units; Legal issues; Maintenance and services; Loft issues; and Stories from the neighborhood. 10am-4pm, Boricua College, 186 N 6th St, Brooklyn.

Also Saturday 4/25:  Spacebuster Event in Ft. Greene – The Storefront for Art and Architecture and Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership will organize a joint community-oriented event to be held in the unused space under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway along Park Avenue. The focus of this workshop will be on how disused spaces of this kind can be re-imagined as neighborhood assets. During activities facilitated by planners and designers including Raumlabor, workshop attendees will be able to share their thoughts by sketching, through discussions, and by exchanging ideas. The event will be free and open to the public. 3pm, under the BQE at Park and Vanderbilt, Brooklyn.

Sunday 4/26: Manhattan JCC Community Environmental Forum – via Council Member Gayle Brewer’s newsletter –  “The JCC, with the help of Jonathan Rose Companies, is holding an environmental charrette–a community forum–to plan a neighborhood-wide approach to sustaining our environment and conserving its resources. We want the voices of our community to be heard in this conversation and therefore encourage you to send a representative from your synagogue/ school/organization to join  at the table.  Earlier this month we celebrated Tu B’shevat.  We emerge from this holiday with a heightened awareness of how precious our natural resources are, and we’d like to invite you to help us think about “greening” the JCC and our community. Help your institution and our community waste less, save energy, think globally while acting locally to take care of our planet. Please let us know who from your community will be joining us by RSVPing at:”  2 PM-5 PM in the Beit Midrash on the 7th floor of the JCC, 334 Amsterdam Avenue at 76 Street.

Since 2000, The Community-Based Planning Task Force has been leading the effort to create a more meaningful role for communities in New York City’s planning and decision-making processes.

This blog intends to connect our Task Force and the public with opportunities to participate in shaping the city's future, and to inform about issues related to planning, decision-making, equity, social justice, and public participation.

Visit our About page for more information.

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