Publication Date

April 2017

Advisor(s)

Yamil Velez

Major

Government

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

The Community Parks Initiative is New York City’s recently-implemented policy to address a long history of inequity across the city’s park spaces. Amidst rapid gentrification, however, these park improvements may serve to augment broader processes of neighborhood change and displacement. In a process called “environmental gentrification,” park renovation can simultaneously exclude some residents from these newly beautified parks. In the context of this “pernicious paradox,” the creation of park equity must be more thoroughly examined. The Community Parks Initiative provides a unique opportunity to tackle questions of environmental gentrification. From the structure and text of the initiative to its implementation and impact, the Community Parks Initiative sits at the nexus of green space rhetoric, community-level changes, and infrastructural improvement in a time of housing and displacement crises. Through this project I take on an examination of environmental gentrification as it relates to this particular urban parks policy, using this analysis to more broadly investigate how public green spaces are made for some and not others. While employing this critical lens, I also challenge the presumed inevitability of environmental gentrification and its exclusionary impacts. In doing so, I hope to find ways to disrupt existing relationships between park renovation and urban displacement.

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