Achieving a Balance:
Housing and Open Space
in Bronx Community Board 3

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Jocelyne Chait, community planner
Kira Gould, writer
Margaret Seip, community planner
Petr Stand, architect

Related Publication

Achieving a Balance

Related Event

Event: December 2000

Current opinion is strongly divided as to whether the city has a responsibility to preserve community gardens or profitably de-accession the "vacant" public land occupied by the gardens. In an effort to move the discussion beyond partisanship, this Design Trust planning project set forth a method of reconciling the need for both affordable housing and community open space. The project promotes the type of integrated planning and design that enables urban housing and open space to benefit one another. The Design Trust and the Trust for Public Land jointly selected Bronx Community Board 3 to host and be the subject of this study.

The Design Trust awarded fellowships to community planners Jocelyne Chait and Margaret Seip and to architect Petr Stand. This project team, led by Ms. Chait, undertook extensive research to assess the status of housing types, developable land, public parks, and community gardens within the board’s district. The team clarified political processes that affect building in the district through interviews with elected officials, public agencies, and local non-profits.

In addition, the team organized conferences with invited gardeners and housing developers, and held a design workshop in which residents were asked to graphically explore their attitudes towards housing and open space both in their own neighborhoods and from their personal histories. The team also assisted Community Board 3 in establishing its own computerized land use mapping capabilities. Their report, Achieving a Balance: Housing and Open Space in Bronx Community Board 3, summarizes project research and makes recommendations to the community board that will help the community realize its long-term planning needs.

The Design Trust also granted a fellowship to journalist Kira Gould to document the project as it progressed and to help raise public awareness of the underlying issues. Ms. Gould's efforts resulted in coverage of the project by BronxNet television and the New York Times.

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