That vacant lot that you walk by everyday may just be waiting for you to transform it into a community garden! Many neighborhood vacant lots are actually publically owned, and 596 Acres wants you to know where they are and what you can do about it. Working with the Center for the Study of Brooklyn, the group helps residents reclaim these unused lots to transform them into lush community spaces.

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green design, eco design, sustainable design, 596 Acres, community garden, reclaimed space, vacant lots, Center for the Study of Brooklyn

The organization derived its name from their findings that over 596 acres of vacant public space existed in Brooklyn as of April 2010. The vacant space range from tiny squares to full fledged lots where apartments used to stand. Each space, regardless of size, has the potential of becoming a green space that could grow fruits and vegetables to benefit the community around it.

Last summer, 596 Acres performed a grass roots community education campaign, printing up placards that notified the public of what lots could be used for public consumption and then placed the cards around Brooklyn, along with the phone numbers to contact the City Agency about appropriating the space. Because of this simple project, not only were more green spaces created, but the projects also brought together members of the community who want to improve their neighborhoods.

596 Acres provides an interactive map of the vacant lots, as well as lots that have already been reclaimed by the community which serve as inspiration for others. The organization has all the resources to teach community members just how to reclaim these publicly owned lots, from which government agencies to call and how to work with soil testing to where to access EPA reports and find potential building materials.

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