Northern Brooklyn faces immense oncoming change that affects the distinct communities that cohabit the space. While future waterfront proposals reduce the area in one homogenous stroke, we understand that the waterfront is as diverse a public asset as the adjacent communities. This project challenges the concept of access as simply physical by exploring what it means to belong. Belonging is a principle necessary to create a commons. The act of walking enables a dialogue between publics to take place beyond geographical boundaries that might not otherwise take place. in.site’s workshop series uncovers opportunities for groups to align on mutually beneficial strategies that ensure diversity is sustained.
Through these walking workshops we address the common goals shared with our community partner NAG of: recapturing the waterfront and advocating for the people who live and work there, making the claim that the entire community is entitled to participate in decision-making processes affecting their neighborhood, and promoting the right to collectively design shared public space. The purpose here is to engage people to participate in the change in their urban environment and to provide the space for dialogue and self-organization. The workshops were designed following a 6 months, on the ground ethnography researching social, political and spatial dynamics of this neighborhood in transition.
Ethnography • Workshops • Theoretical • Engagement tools
in.site organized a launch event for the workshops that re-engaged and expanded NAG’s constituency. The outcomes resulted in renewed engagement in the future of the waterfront, which in the recent past had been consistently dominated by top down decision making.
An interactive tool—in the form of “personality quiz” What Public Agent are You?—was created to guide participant through the various points on the walk and concluded with personality-based recommendations on how to get involved.
This workshop series is part of a larger on-going project at in.site investigating new and emerging models of managing public resources along the Williamsburg-Greenpoint Waterfront.