Graduate students will soon get real life civics lessons courtesy of two of the borough’s community boards.
Community Boards 6 and 2 will be the first outer borough quasi-governmental bodies to participate in a program started four years ago by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.This is the first year the mayor’s office has been sponsoring the initiative, called the Community Planning Fellowship Program, expanding it beyond Manhattan.
The planners are all studying graduate work in urban planning, and come from local schools, including New York University, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City of New York.
Board 6, which covers Park Slope, Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, and the Columbia Street Waterfront District, will receive its student from Columbia. Craig Hammerman, the board’s district manager said among the young planner’s tasks would be visiting the district’s parks and open spaces to evaluate their uses, “and interview the users to find out if they’re meeting local need.” Another project will be to examine the district’s “bicycle infrastructure,” and to devise a plan meet existing demands and future needs.
In general, Hammerman said, “People feel left out of the planning process,” adding that engaging the public on a host of issues can help relieve this tension.
Board 2 District Manager Rob Perris said the board’s urban planning grad school representative will arrive from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School for Public Service. “We are going to put together a work program in the next couple of weeks which may entail her doing a rewrite of our statement of district needs,” Perris said, referring to an annual list the board submits to the city’s Office of Management and Budget. “She may also look at urban renewal plans in the district and the Downtown Brooklyn Development Plan.” Board 2 encompasses Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Fort Greene, Boerum Hill and Clinton Hill.
Community boards act as conduits between the public and a host of city agencies and elected officials. Their meetings are open to the public and held monthly.