Environmental Justice, Green Space
Usable green space in marginalized neighborhoods is critical for public health, community-centered revitalization, and economic independence. Existing green space such as parks, community gardens, or waterfront areas in these neighborhoods is frequently contaminated, including lead in soil, underground coal tar remaining from prior industrial uses, or combined sewer overflows in waterways. Lack of access to clean parks and waterways for recreation harms physical and mental health, depresses real estate values, and inhibits investment and economic growth in these communities. To protect and increase accessible, clean green spaces, NYLPI advises organizations and their members on land use and environmental laws. For example, the federal Environmental Protection Agency has designated the Gowanus Canal a Superfund site and is directing its cleanup. An adjacent park that is heavily used by low-income public housing residents in the area is built on the site of a former Manufactured Gas Plant, and its proposed cleanup is under state control. NYLPI works with Fifth Avenue Committee and FUREE on the regulatory processes governing the cleanups and advocates for the cleanup, temporary relocation, and restoration of the park amenities.