Community Gardens vs. Affordable Housing: What’s Better for City-Owned Sites?

Harvest party at Boerum Hill’s former community garden A Small Green Patch. Photo by Tami Johnson via A Small Green Patch

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    Last week, the Mayor announced that nine city-owned community garden sites — four of them in Brooklyn — would be developed for affordable housing.

    Local gardeners affected by the decision are upset about the loss of land they’ve lovingly tended for years — and the implications of a plan that values housing above public green space.

    Where do you stand on this thorny issue?

    What the City wants
    Waaaay more affordable housing. We’re in the midst of a housing crisis that won’t fix itself. The city owns this land and believes it would be better used as housing.

    What Community Gardeners want
    To keep the cabbage patch. Some of the gardeners argue they’ve turned the vacant lots into lush neighborhood hubs that are necessary to their communities.

    Five Facts

    • The city plans to build 800 units of affordable housing at just nine selected garden sites (that number is way down from the hundreds of sites they were considering last January)
    • Another 34 city-owned community gardens will be preserved and officially included in the Parks Department’s community garden program
    • The city has promised to create new (possibly smaller) garden spaces within a quarter of a mile of the developed sites
    • There are currently about 600 community gardens throughout New York City, but only half are protected by the Parks Department from development
    • The four Brooklyn sites include A Small Green Patch in Boerum Hill, New Harvest Garden in Bed Stuy, Van Sicklen Warwick garden in Brownsville, and a site in Coney Island near Mermaid Avenue.

    What do you think? Is the urgent need for affordable housing clearly the more pressing issue? Or are these community gardens essential to maintaining a neighborhood’s quality of life?

    [Source: Politico]

    Related Stories
    City to Build Affordable Housing on 122 Vacant Lots and Community Gardens
    Teachers Plan Educational Community Garden on Crown Heights Lot Targeted for Development
    Multimillion-Dollar Farm Program Aims to Feed Underserved Brooklyn Communities

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