Thank you to everyone who joined us at the Sunnyside Yard Sustainability Workshop. See below for a summary of findings!
Date: April 30th, 2019 | 6-8pm
Location: Jacob Riis Settlement Houses | Long Island City, Queens
This workshop focused on the sustainability and resiliency as it relates to Sunnyside Yard. An opening presentation was led by Annemarie Gray of NYCEDC, Androniki Lagos of Urbane Development, and James Schrader of Carlo Ratti Associati. In addition to reviewing community engagement to date and the opportunities and challenges presented by a potential Sunnyside Yard development, the presentation discussed City efforts and policies to address sustainability citywide, resiliency challenges for Western Queens, sustainability & resiliency efforts that Sunnyside Yard could enhance or enable, and case studies of future technologies that could be piloted at the Yard. See here for the full presentation.
After the presentation, attendees broke into small groups. Each participant brainstormed the question, “what is a sustainable and resilient community to you?” Each group then organized their collective ideas and identified key themes. Facilitators then led a discussion around roadblocks to sustainable and resilient communities, and how Sunnyside Yard could help overcome those roadblocks. A representative from each group shared a summary of the activity and discussion.
Key Findings from activities and small group discussions:
The following themes emerged as critical to sustainability and resilience efforts: nature, transportation, energy, community, industry/business, affordability, waste reduction, and buildings/construction.
The need for more opportunities to recycle, reuse, and compost emerged as opportunities to reduce waste.
There is a need to manage floods through stormwater management, upgrades to sewage, bioswales, and rainwater capture.
There is an opportunity to use Sunnyside Yard as a place to grow food for the local community through farms and gardens.
More existing buildings should be renovated and/or retrofitted with energy-saving materials and systems. More buildings should be LEED certified
Community resilience emerged as a popular theme with participants making a case for a range of initiatives that could help strengthen residents of Western Queens against climate change. For instance, investing in youth through education and public youth programs was said in nearly every small group. Ensuring the diversity and inclusion of different communities that reflect demographics and income also emerged.
Affordability is a component of sustainability and resilience.
Community ownership was of interest. Participants noted the need for community-owned housing, community-owned public space, and community-owned land through some type of Community Land Trust mechanism.
Desire for good quality jobs with upward mobility potential. Need to better equip the workforce, for example in green jobs or union jobs, as a way to strengthen the sustainability of communities.
Exploring ways for the private sector to pay for research & development into sustainability initiatives