Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Green Frontier -- in our backyard

As promised,
a potpourri of info
on green businesses in
Northside Williamsburg
New York City
New York

Green rooftops, a form of urban farming, are a burgeoning business, especially with Bloomburg tax incentives, $4.50 per square foot!

The law, passed last year, is part of the Real Property Tax Law, Title 4-B , (search here)

"Green Roof Tax Abatement for certain Properties in a City of One Million or More Persons"


We will be visiting the Jungle a local green roof designer.

green canteen


A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to controlling emissions from businesses located in mixed-use buildings that use chemicals.

What is a Green Environment?

Ten Years of Change in Northside Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Anyone who lived then Northside Williamsburg in the last century knows our town of 50,000 (Census 2000) has undergone rapid change. But is our environment any better? What is an urban environment? Are we any "greener?"

To answer these questions, first consider two landmarks of the community that have dramatically changed over the past decade.

The East River New York State Park

Back in the day, accessing the East River in Northside Williamsburg meant jumping a metal link fence, sidestepping illegally dumped materials, overgrown vegetation, even a car or mobile home. But the view was great, and a diverse ecosystem reigned. It was a raw, wild time back then, when you never saw a yellow cab in the neighborhood, and there were less than a dozen bars and pubs.
Today, the East River Park is a harbinger of the shape of things to come, a "greener" time, but what is a "green" environment, economy, or community? This Saturday morning, in groups of 4-5, we will be taking a self-guided tour of the Northside Williamsburg community, seeking answers to these questions along the way.

The Finger Building

A.K.A. 144 N. 8th Street, was previously a school, a die-casting business, and prospective Sin-é site (anyone remember The Pod?), is now a "super-sized" shape that was the shot heard 'round the 'burg when construction started on it. It was designed by architect Robert Scarano, who surrendered his right to self-certify last year, and is now charged with violating building codes on 25 of his Brooklyn construction projects. In lieu of the recent crane construction dangers, on June 12, DOB and DOI filed charges against him in regards to two of his Greenpoint construction projects, stating, "We will not tolerate anyone who knowingly attempts to mislead the Department with false documents. Scarano was also charged in 2006 with failing to guarantee safe conditions at a building site on Ocean Parkway where a worker was killed in a wall collapse. The City and State are looking into revoking his license entirely. Property owner Scott Spector sued Scarano over the misuse of air rights of his buildings. Before the building frame was erected, six floors up was about as high as any Northside building could be. Today, "luxury condominiums" catch the clouds, forcing interior spaces away from the street crowd.
Having read these two descriptions, ask yourself the following questions:
  1. How would you describe the Northside's environment? How has it changed over the years?
  2. What examples of places, buildings, etc. would you use in your description?
  3. How would you make the neighborhood "greener"?
Upon answering these questions, post a comment to this blog entry, (1-2 paragraphs) explaining your answers to these questions. If you finish early, go to the wiki to update your page (NYT articles, etc.). Also, don't forget about posting a comment to last class's blog posting, listing your cytogentic and base pair locations to your homework genetic disease.

Developing a Green Urban Environment

Within the past few decades, much research has been invested in examining what an Urban Ecosystem contains. Why else would the National Forest Service have a Field Station in NYC? Even cities can be natural classrooms that students can access to learn about basic ecology principles.
We will be addressing two questions in Saturday's class:
  1. What kinds of interesting plant and animal species live in the Northside neighborhood?
  2. What sort of "green" activities exist in our neighborhood?
We will meet at 10AM, June 21st at the Northside Community Garden on North 6th and Driggs Ave. to begin our exploration of the Northside. After identifying various taxometries in the garden, each group of 4-5 students will develop their own walking tour of the neighborhood. Each group must stop at three of the following business, and determine whether they are "green" businesses.

Additionally, each team will locate five places on their map that identify places with interesting plant/animal species. Finally, we will all meet back together at noon at the East River park on Kent Avenue and North 8th Street.

Once all of our information has been gathered, each group will design a walking tour based on their group's and any other group's experiences. The walking tour should be something like the Newtown Creek Walking Tour where interesting environmental aspects of the Northside are described.


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