The New York Building Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes the long-term growth and well-being of the New York City building industry, and the charitable arm of the New York Building Congress, has allocated $10,000 as a community project grant to the Design Trust for Public Space.
The grant will be used for the Design Trust’s Opening the Edge project, a collaboration with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to create a public, outdoor space in an underutilized grassy area of Lillian Wald Houses on the Lower East Side for residents to enjoy.
“Outdoor recreational spaces are more important now than ever before, and creating this area for NYCHA residents to enjoy and come together is a wonderful opportunity to improve both the property and the residents’ quality of life,” said Carlo A. Scissura, President of the New York Building Foundation.
“We are very proud to contribute to the Design Trust for Public Space’s Opening the Edge project and look forward to continuing to work with them to create beautiful community spaces across the five boroughs.”
“The New York Building Foundation is committed to enhancing the diverse communities that make this city the greatest in the world, and Opening the Edge is a wonderful project that aligns perfectly with our mission,” said Milo E. Riverso, Ph.D., P.E., Chair of the New York Building Foundation and President & CEO of STV.
“We are thrilled to provide this grant and work with the Design Trust for Public Space to create a terrific outdoor amenity for the residents of the Lillian Wald Houses.”
Opening the Edge began in 2016 and has since been used to empower NYCHA residents to design a space for their community and interact with their neighborhood. Further, Opening the Edge inspired NYCHA’s “Connected Communities” initiative, which embraces greater resident engagement in urban design processes.
The project was proposed by Design Trust Participatory Art Fellow Jane Greengold, who felt inspired to create the greenspace when she observed stark divisions between NYCHA housing and the neighborhoods in which the developments are situated. Since then, Opening the Edge has been driven by a group of NYCHA residents, known as the Community Design Team, who make decisions on how they want the site to be used.
Greengold and the Community Design Team created plans for an accessible and welcoming public space for a fenced-in area located between 3rd and 4th Streets on Avenue D.
The plans are being finalized, with hopes to incorporate public art into the design.
The new open space will offer a place for Lillian Wald Houses residents to interact with their neighbors while also serving as a model of participatory design that can be adapted at other NYCHA sites.