Brooklynites jammed Brooklyn Borough Hall on Wednesday for the City Planning Commission’s public hearing on the mayor’s controversial plan to rezone East New York.
After months of heated discussion over the rezoning of two public schools in Brooklyn Heights and Vinegar Hill — raising issues of segregation, social class and gentrification — District 13’s Community Education Council (CEC) voted Tuesday in favor of redrawing both school zones.
Starting with the next school year, kids living in Dumbo — Brooklyn’s most expensive nabe — will be zoned to attend Vinegar Hill’s P.S. 307 rather than the overcrowded P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights.
Is this a win for integration and educational equity?
As we all know, Brooklyn’s become a boomtown for creative dreamers and makers. Now, a study from the Center for an Urban Future has confirmed and quantified the artsy influx.
CUF is a think tank and master of urban stats (we’ve written about their work before) so you can look forward to hearing these figures merrily repeated by pro-art policy makers in the months to come. The report was already cited at least twice at last week’s Make It In Brooklyn Summit, though not by Bruce Ratner.
Ready to face the facts?
Artists and photographers who were part of the 2010 exhibition “The Gentrification of Brooklyn: The Pink Elephant Speaks,” will gather at the Brooklyn Historical Society tomorrow to discuss what it means to be a working artist — and maybe a gentrifier — living in the borough today. Dexter Wimberley, who curated the show at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, will lead the discussion.
Panelists will explore “how they’ve survived (or thrived) in the years since the exhibition, and share how their art has been influenced by the rapid changes in the borough,” according to BHS. Artists Oasa Sun DuVerney, Nathan Kensinger and Sarah Nelson Wright will speak, as well as MoCADA director James Bartlett. The free panel will run from 6:30 to 8:30 pm tomorrow evening at BHS, and tickets are available here. Above, a painting by Tim Okumura from the exhibition.
Photo by Tim Okumura for Fort Greene Focus
BRIC’s television channel, Brooklyn Independent Media, is hosting a town hall on gentrification tomorrow evening and inviting experts, politicians, activists and urban planners to weigh in on how rapid economic development is transforming Brooklyn. “Where do market forces and policy need to meet so that we can preserve the integrity of our diverse borough?” asks the event description.
Speakers include New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer; Brooklyn College Sociology Professor Sharon Zukin; City Council Member Robert Cornegy (36th District); Ron Shiffman, urban planner and founder of the Pratt Center for Community Development; Jherelle Ben, an organizer for the Flatbush Tenant Coalition; and Juan Ramos, chair of the Broadway Triangle Coalition.
Beginning Monday, the Brooklyn Public Library debuts a series of panel discussions, oral history recording sessions, film screenings and workshops about gentrification in the borough. Brooklyn Transitions aims to start a dialogue about changes both good and bad as many once affordable neighborhoods become expensive, the resulting displacement of many longtime residents, and what people can do to remain where they live.
The first panel will look at the history of gentrification in Brooklyn. Sharon Zukin, professor of sociology at Brooklyn College and City University of New York; Sulieman Osman, assistant professor of American studies at Georgetown University and author of “The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn”; and Isabel Hill, an architectural historian, urban planner and filmmaker will speak October 20 at 7 pm.
A panel on November 17 will address gentrification in Brooklyn today and one on December 15 will ponder the Brooklyn of the future.
For the Brooklyn Transitions Oral History Project, the library is looking for people to tell stories about the neighborhoods where they were born and raised and how they have changed. Recordings will be archived in the Brooklyn Collection.
Find out more on the Brooklyn Transitions website.
Photo by gigi_nyc
In response to Eric Garner and Ferguson, BRIC and Brooklyn Independent Media are hosting a community town hall on how race and policing affect the civil rights of Brooklynites. Panelists include Councilmember Jumaane Williams; Esmerelda Simmons, Executive Director Center for Law & Social Justice at Medgar Evers College; Lumumba Bandele, Senior Community Organizer for Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; Rinku Sen, Publisher of Colorlines and Executive Director of Race Forward; and Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of Arab American Association.
Brian Vines of Brooklyn Independent Media will moderate, and the event takes place from 7 to 8:30 pm in the 240-seat BRIC House Ballroom at 647 Fulton Street on Tuesday, October 14. The free event will also be broadcast on Brooklyn Independent Media.
And next week, two demographers from the City Planning Department will come to Brooklyn Historical Society to explore our borough’s shifting racial and ethnic groups. Joseph Salvo, Director of the Population Division at City Planning, and his colleague Peter Lobo will talk about the major demographic changes in recent years, as well as the challenges Brooklyn will face in the coming decades. It’s happening next Thursday, October 2 at BHS at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $10 or $5 for members.
It looks like not everyone is thrilled with the impending Starbucks on Franklin Avenue and Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights. Brooklynian posted this photo of a couple holding a sign that reads “Crown Heights Does Not Need a Starbucks!” in front of 341 Eastern Parkway.
Brooklyn author and journalist Neil deMause has launched a survey asking Brooklynites what drew them to the borough and why they’ve stayed despite rapidly rising housing costs. The questionnaire is part of deMause’s research for an upcoming crowdfunded book, “Brooklyn Wars,” about Brooklyn’s gentrification and redevelopment boom.
The idea came to him while he was wondering why rents have increased even as local poverty rates have risen. “I was discussing this with a housing economist friend, and while we both had theories, none of them were convincing,” he said in a press release. “While web surveys are inherently anecdotal and unscientific, even a self-selected sample should give some hints as to how Brooklynites view their reasons for remaining in a borough that charges $3,000 a month to live in a closet an hour’s subway ride from their job.”
So far, leading early responses include “it’s cheaper than Manhattan,” “diversity” and “boyfriend.”
Photo by Juni Safont
P.S. 321’s Diversity Committee is hosting three sociology professors for a roundtable discussion on gentrification this Thursday. Their conversation will explore the changing racial, ethnic and economic demographics in Brooklyn, as well as the causes and consequences of gentrification in neighborhoods throughout the borough.
The panelists are Dr. Zaire Dinzey-Flores, associate sociology professor at Rutgers, Dr. Jerome Krase, professor emeritus of sociology at Brooklyn College, and Dr. Emily Molina, associate professor of sociology at Brooklyn College.
Audience members will get to ask questions after the panel is over, and the discussion is open to the public. The Diversity Committee “is a parent-run group at P.S. 321 that is committed to creating a welcoming environment, which supports the rights of all individuals and reflects respect for our diverse student body with a spirit of sensitivity and tolerance,” in their own words.