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Brooklyn Community Foundation Launches New Green Initiative to Promote a Sustainable Brooklyn

Posted By Will Giron On August 11, 2011 @ 1:08 pm In Brooklyn,Green Space,News | No Comments

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The Brooklyn Community Foundation [1] officially launched a 3 year, $750,000  green initiative [2] program called Green Spaces [3] yesterday, an exciting new project that promotes and implements sustainability practices and environmental improvements in Bed-Stuy, Williamsburg, and Cypress Hills. Inhabitat was excited to be a part of the unveiling event, which brought together prominent green activists, organizations, and New York politicians in a “Cool Roofs [4]” painting event on a South Williamsburg rooftop.

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“The world looks to Brooklyn to set trends, and there’s no trend more worth of becoming tradition than the push to make our communities greener and healthier, and to lessen our impact on the environment,” said Marilyn Gelber [5], president of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. “By promoting collective action and shared resource through this initiative, we ensure that the successful efforts of these three communities will benefit the entirety of Brooklyn, to make it a model of Urban environmental improvement for years to come.”

The project, in a collaborative effort between three long time established community development groups — El Puente [6], Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation [7], and the Cypress Hills Development Corporation [8] — aims to create a “green roadmap” to implement “replicable strategies and tools to be used all across all of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods.” The Brooklyn Greens project is funded through the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Green Communities Fund [9], which will be used to develop green spaces and jobs throughout Brooklyn neighborhoods.

The launch also included prominent guest speakers like U.S Representative Nydia Velazques [10], well known for her support of green initiatives such as PlaNYC [11]. “Government by itself, cannot solve all issues,” she said, as she raised the call to activism, making a clear point that in order for green initiatives such as these to successful, the community needed to get involved. Many other local leaders also emphasized the same point. Ibrahim Abdul Matin of the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability told the guests [12], “We need you to tell us what to do,” in order for the city to get in helping the local communities.

The Brooklyn Greens program, with the help of the participating community organizations, aims to engage young people and adults to becoming more active in the community by improving the local environment. To do so, Brooklyn Greens aims to promote energy efficiency standards in all neighborhoods, training and placing residents in green jobs through business and community facilities, and also by “applying conservation and environmental principles to affordable housing developments.”

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The best part about the program, however, is that these green initiatives are already being applied. Under the NYC Cools Roofs [4] program for example, community residents and volunteers are painting the roofs of buildings throughout the three Brooklyn neighborhoods white. Simple as it may seem, painting the roofs white reduces roof temperature by almost 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and lowers interior temperatures by 30 percent. Not only does this produce savings of 40 percent in utility bills, but it also makes residential buildings more comfortable during summers as well.

Brooklyn Greens also hops to introduce 480 energy efficient retrofitted homes, apartments, and commercial buildings, along constructing 130 new units of green residential housing. The current goal is to also train 140 local community residents in “green collar jobs.” They will help in planting 750 street trees and 12 new neighborhood green space. These new green projects will transform neighborhoods like Southside Williamsburg into a “Green Light District,” a term quoted by Councilwoman Diane Reyna.

The Pratt Center for Community Development [13], as part of the Pratt Institute, will be helping to coordinate and track the progress of the initiative over the next three years. “Brooklyn Greens will advance the City’s goals to reduce carbon emissions and green New York City’s neighborhoods,” said Adam Friedman [14], Director of the Pratt Center.” We are thrilled to be working with Brooklyn Community Foundation and our community based partners to develop and implement tools, strategies and metrics that can help all New York City neighborhoods to become healthier, more affordable, and environmentally sustainable.”

This project is a huge step forward in truly transforming NYC into a green city. Concentration isn’t just on places in Manhattan, but also in residential neighborhoods in the other boroughs, where the focus is more on local residents and helping to improve their standard of living. More importantly, this is a community effort that aims to rehabilitate long neglected neighborhoods through community development and activism based on green principles. The fact that the ultimate goal is for all neighborhoods in Brooklyn rather than just a select few, makes this truly a one of a kind project, and a model for the rest of the city as well.

Photos © Brooklyn Community Foundation

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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/brooklyn-community-foundation-launches-new-green-initiative-to-promote-a-sustainable-brooklyn/

URLs in this post:

[1] The Brooklyn Community Foundation: http://www.brooklyncommunityfoundation.org/

[2] green initiative: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/brooklyn-community-foundation-is-greening-brooklyn-with-gardening-grants/

[3] Green Spaces: http://www.brooklyncommunityfoundation.org/media/in-the-news/brooklyn-community-foundation-launches-3-year-initiative-plant-seed-healthier-more

[4] Cool Roofs: http://www.nyc.gov/html/coolroofs/html/home/home.shtml

[5] Marilyn Gelber: http://www.brooklyncommunityfoundation.org/people/marilyn-gelber

[6] El Puente: http://elpuente.us/

[7] Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation: http://www.restorationplaza.org/

[8] Cypress Hills Development Corporation: https://sites.google.com/a/cypresshills.org/cypress-hills-local-development-corporation/

[9] Green Communities Fund: http://www.brooklyncommunityfoundation.org/node/53

[10] Nydia Velazques: http://velazquez.house.gov/index.shtml

[11] PlaNYC: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/index.php?s=PlaNYC

[12] Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability told the guests: http://www.nyc.gov/html/ops/html/home/home.shtml

[13] The Pratt Center for Community Development: http://prattcenter.net/

[14] Adam Friedman: http://prattcenter.net/staff/adam-friedman

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