Friday, January 29, 2016

Place Based Work: A Year In Review

In April 2014, The Brownsville Community Justice Center launched it's first place based project, The Belmont Revitalization Project. The Project launched with a service day in the Belmont corridor. Over 100 volunteers, who live, work or go to school in Brownsville (11212), were recruited for service. Youth under the age of 24 were the largest group represented at the service day launch event. Service tasks included: street and sidewalk clean-ups, the installation of public art, graffiti removal, greening a vacant lot and planning for a permanent street plaza. The Justice Center’s staff solicited permission from all businesses/property owners for clean-up and graffiti removal and supervised all engagement activities.

Since then, the Justice Center has completed multiple place based initiatives not only on Belmont Avenue but throughout the Brownsville community. 

Osborn Street Plaza:
In October 2015, The Osborn Street Plaza opened to the public. The Osborn Plaza is an public pedestrian space for the Brownsville community. The Plaza is open for public use and can be utilized by residents, businesses and community based organizations. The Plaza features a mural created by Brownsville youth. 

In December 2015, The Justice Center held it's first Annual Tree Lighting. The Ceremony brought out over 100 families that enjoyed cookies and hot coca, music, crafts and pictures with Santa. The event included a toy give-a-way, with presents donated by Brownsville Ascend Charter School, located on Pitkin Avenue. Brownsville’s youngest residents from Brightside Daycare colored and decorated ornaments that adorned the tree. The night was made possible with a generous donation from Home Depot, who provided the tree.

Santa and the Tree

Be On Belmont: 
Over the summer,In collaboration with Department of Transportation and Small Business Services, The Justice Center hosted a series of street festivals once a month over 3 months. The "Be On Belmont" street festivals ran along Belmont Avenue between Rockaway Avenue and Watkins Street. The goals of the "Be On Belmont" street festivals were to help community residents re-imagine safe and pro-social activities possible along the corridor while simultaneously driving foot traffic to the businesses. The street festivals featured live performances, food, interactive cooking demonstrations, face painting, inflatable obstacle courses, resource information and much more and all free to the community.The Street Festivals engaged over 700 community residents over throughout the summer and fall months (Aug-Oct). Check out some highlights:





Marcus Garvey Village: 

The Marcus Garvey Project provides services that help residents, particularly the youth of Marcus Garvey Village, an opportunity to address issues that concern them and the community-at-large.  Discussing these issues gave the young people a chance to see that they can become positive agents of change in their community. Working alongside management, the Tenant’s Association and community residents--the young people learned the importance of being active community members and how their voice can be instrumental in making positive changes. One issue that the youth are currently tackling is the lack of recreational space for residents. The young people who are participating in the BCJC Marcus Garvey Project are in the process of activating a lot to accommodate this need.

The young people at Columbia U. Discussing the design of MGV

Large Community Benefit Projects:
Throughout the Brownsville Community, the Justice Center receives multiple requests from residents and business owners to complete community beautification projects, like graffiti removal and street clean ups.

Youth and Place Based Work: 
Designing Change
In Spring 2015, The Brownsville Youth Court and the Municipal Arts Society (MAS) partnered up to implement an exciting new initiative called Designing Change. Designing Change is an experiential program that uses design and art as a tool to engage youth in community-based planning and urban design projects in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The goals of the program is to develop the capacity of young people to lead projects that shape and support Brownsville and to empower them to participate in the revitalization of their neighborhood. The participants, who are high-school aged and reside in Brownsville, will collaborate with local elected officials, community residents and other professional designers, planners and developers.  









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