The Green Bronx
Lecture by Joan Byron and Artur Filip

The New York City is one of the most rapidly changing cities in the world. Although Manhattan has already reached its famous shape in the XX century, the whole city area is still metamorphosing.

The Bronx borough, for example, which since 1970s had used to be recognized as a symbol of urban decay and a black ghetto, is never the same again. The Bronx is now becoming more and more... green! And furthermore, civic and grassroots initiatives have performed a key function in this transformation.

One of the projects, which are the most representative for the Bronx resurgence, is the Bronx River Greenway. This idea of restoring the Bronx River and of creating an 8-mile long park path along the water was initiated by local activists and is presently developed by the Bronx River Alliance – an extraordinary partnership of local grassroots organizations and city departments. The project has been also supported by the New York academic-based organization, the Pratt Center for Community Development.

Joan Byron, as an urban planner working for the Pratt Center, has been engaged in developing of few Bronx projects, the Bronx greenway among others. At the meeting she told about them and shared her practical experience.

Joan Byron is an architect and urban planner leading Pratt Center’s research and advocacy work on issues of social, economic, and environmental justice in New York City. Her current and recent projects include post-Sandy rebuilding and resilience; supporting the Queens Fairness Coalition’s campaign for Flushing Meadows Corona Park; Pratt Center’s Transportation Equity atlas and campaign for a citywide Bus Rapid Transit network; support of the Bronx River Alliance partnership; and, with the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance, the campaign to replace the 1.25-mile Sheridan Expressway with waterfront housing and open space.

Artur Jerzy Filip is an architect and urban planner. He has been engaged in public work related to grassroots initiatives, such as the Music Quarter and the Warsaw Cultural Trail which deal with the Warsaw Embankment. For the latter one he got scholarships granted by the City of Warsaw (double awarded, years 2012 and 2013) and by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (2011). Now he is preparing a PhD dissertation, which considers American bottom-up partnerships advocating for large-scale urban developments.

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