News from Pratt Center: April 2024

    Table of Contents

  1. A Note From Executive Director Alexa Kasdan
  2. Celebrating our 60th with a Taste of Made in NYC
  3. New Housing Policy Brief: Attack on Affordability
  4. Weighing in on City of Yes for Economic Opportunity
  5. Pratt Center News
  6. New “Centering Communities” Framework
  7. EnergyFit breaks ground
  8. Brooklyn and the Bronx, we want to hear from you!
  9. Pratt Center in the News
  10. From the “Notes On” Blog

A Note From Executive Director Alexa Kasdan

It feels like yesterday that I wrote my first “Director’s update” to the Pratt Center community. Now that I am more than seven months in, I’m thrilled to share more of the great work and forward motion at Pratt Center.Over the last several months, the team has done some internal reflection and strategic sharpening of our priorities and goals for the next several years. As a result, we will be expanding our climate justice work, deepening our community-engaged research and policy work and increasing our capacity to conduct original research and data analysis to support the organizing and advocacy of our BIPOC community-based partners. We will also ensure that racial justice will be a thread through all of this work. CONTINUE READING

Celebrating our 60th with a Taste of Made in NYC

As we kick off the 60th anniversary of Pratt Center, join us on Saturday, May 18 for the Taste of Made in NYC, presented by Brooklyn Navy Yard! Made in NYC is one of our flagship programs, which helps preserve and foster small businesses, create opportunities for meaningful jobs, and empower BIPOC entrepreneurs to thrive. Taste of Made in NYC was recently featured by Forbes and TimeOut. Come celebrate with us and taste locally made beer, ice cream, whiskey, vegan cheese and more!


More Ways to Celebrate Our 60th: Save the date—On September 26, 2024 join Pratt Center and past and present Taconic fellows at the Caroline Ladd Pratt House (229 Clinton Avenue) in Brooklyn for a reception celebrating 10 years of community-engaged research across Pratt Institute. More details forthcoming.

MADE IN NYC SPONSORS: Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York City Council, NYC Economic Development Corporation, Square, Greenpoint Manufacturing & Design Center, sune, M&T Bank, Flatbush Food Co-op, Workforce Development Institute.

New Housing Policy Brief: Attack on Affordability

In March, Pratt Center released a policy brief, “Attack on Affordability,” which examines a new bill backed by the landlord lobby which would allow landlords of rent-stabilized apartments to raise rents to market rates after long-term tenants (10+ years) vacate the unit. These increases would be determined not by the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB), like all other rent-stabilized apartments, but by federal guidelines for local Fair Market Rents. This bill would threaten affordability for the majority of rent-stabilized apartments. Of all rent-stabilized households, 55 percent (523,471 in total, representing 1.3 million tenants) have lived in their homes since 2014 or longer.

The brief was cited in news coverage of the proposed legislation, including Hell GateGothamist, and City & State NY.

Read the full brief

Weighing in on City of Yes for Economic Opportunity

The City of Yes for Economic Opportunity Text Amendment for New Manufacturing Districts is an important move in the right direction for addressing outdated zoning that makes it difficult to build new industrial space. However, in recent testimony, Pratt Center urged the City Council to adopt some critical modifications to reduce the size of competing, non-industrial uses (e.g., big box retail and large-scale entertainment) in core manufacturing districts and to increase incentives for building industrial space in new mixed-use developments. Read the full comments

Pratt Center News

Introducing Amelia Brod!

We’re excited to welcome Amelia Brod as our new Director of Development & Communications! Amelia comes to us after 5 years at The Laundromat Project where she was the Senior Manager of Development. Amelia’s focus will be to help ensure the financial sustainability of Pratt Center by diversifying our funders and reinvigorating our individual donor program. Before that, she worked as an Arts Specialist at Kickstarter. Amelia was born in London, England, but has family ties to Queens, NY, and has lived in Crown Heights and Park Slope for almost a decade. Most Saturdays, she can be found geeking out at museums, in Prospect Park, or cooking for her friends and family.

View Amelia’s full bio

Rebekah Morris-Gonzalez named Director of Climate Initiatives
Rebekah Morris stepped into a new role as Director of Pratt Center’s Climate Initiatives. You can catch Rebekah sharing about our EnergyFit work on this recent panel: “How to Get From “It Feels Drafty in Here” to Completed Home Energy Retrofits: A Conversation with Single Family Technical Assistance Providers.” View the recording

We’re Hiring: Program Manager, Climate Initiatives
We’re looking for someone with demonstrated experience in project management and a commitment to environmental justice to join our team and help implement the EnergyFit decarbonization demonstration project in Central Brooklyn. Learn more or apply

New “Centering Communities” Framework

As we’ve reflected in recent months on our community engagement work to date, we’ve sensed the need to be more intentional about how we define, approach, and undertake this work going forward. In a new framework document, “Centering Communities,” we aim to clarify and share our current thinking, open ourselves to questioning, and to inspire others in the field to undertake similar reflection.

Download the Framework

EnergyFit breaks ground

We’re thrilled to announce the completion of the first home retrofits in our EnergyFit home repair and equitable decarbonization demonstration project. Focused on 1–4 family homes in Bedford Stuyvesant, Cypress Hills, and East New York, the program provides weatherization, insulation, induction stove changeouts, wiring upgrades and domestic hot water electrification to income-eligible homeowners for free. 

The project is already identifying unexpected costs and challenges to electrify homes in this housing stock. For example, converting a gas stove to an induction stove requires multiple parties working in tandem to implement the work, including an electrician to upgrade the wiring and electric panel, a plumber to turn off the gas, a sub-contractor to patch up all holes left behind by the electrician, and an appliance company to deliver the stove. The costs for each of these contractors drives up the total cost, at times tripling the purchase price of the stove.

As the program ramps up, Pratt Center will be sharing insights from the field to inform practitioners and policymakers planning electrification projects for low-income households.

Brooklyn and the Bronx, we want to hear from you!

The Bronx & Brooklyn Clean Energy Hub is surveying residents to learn about their knowledge, interests, and experiences related to clean energy. Responses will help us connect more New Yorkers to green jobs and low-cost home energy upgrades!Take the 10-minute survey for a chance to win a $100 gift card!

Fill out the survey

Pratt Center in the News

Stalemate between real estate industry, unions complicating NY budget talks Gothamist

‘Landlords Just Went Wild’: A Brief History of Vacancy Deregulation in New York HellgateNYC

Housing deal may include provision to let landlords increase rents on vacant rent-stabilized apartments City & State

Rising Floods for Basement Apartment Dwellers “Home, Interrupted” podcast, by Feet in 2 Worlds

‘Taste Of Made In NYC’ Hopes To Tell City’s Story Through Culinary Experiences Forbes

Devour food and drinks from local eateries at this unique NYC festival

From the “Notes On” Blog

Notes on the Hudson River Access Project
Taconic Fellows Sara Eichner and Sara Hodges are creating a map that empowers individuals to connect with the Hudson and NY Harbor Estuary. 

Notes on Reviving the Bronx’s Westchester Avenue Train Station 
Taconic Fellows Stephen Davies, Penny Lewis, and Yeswanth Loganathan are working with residents of the South Bronx to co-create a public art installation at an abandoned train station.


09 Apr, 2024