Pratt Center Research

Building Resilient Communities

Cypress Hills Verde Summit Major Themes Report

Report  |  November 11, 2011

Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation’s (CHLDC) Project Verde is a multi-year sustainability initiative in Cypress Hills and East New York. As part of this project, Pratt Center provided extensive planning, research and technical assistance to CHLDC in the development of a Green Master Plan – a comprehensive local strategy to develop and integrate affordable housing, community facilities, economic development, food, health & wellness, open space, street-scape, transportation, waste & sanitation, and youth development resources. We first engaged in extensive research to identify the biggest challenges facing the residents of Cypress Hills/East New York. Designed by Pratt Center and conducted by CHLDC, a Community Satisfaction Survey was distributed to and completed by more than 600 Cypress Hills/ENY residents to assess local concerns about living, working, eating and learning. Click here to see an overview of the survey responses. In collaboration with CHLDC, we then utilized the findings from this survey to design and organize their Verde Summit, an inclusive, bi-lingual two-day community planning event in which community members came together to re-envision the way their neighborhoods look, feel and work.

The Verde Summit Major Themes Report provides a summary of the themes that emerged from the Summit with clear ramifications for future planning. Some of the community-driven solutions to come out of the Summit included:

  • Increasing the number of affordable supermarkets;  
  • Building community gardens, greenhouses, and farmers markets;
  • Creating indoor and outdoor facilities for youth,  places for children to play, and a library and community center;
  • Designing open space that is well connected and has equipment rental for sports and playgrounds with working and stable equipment;
  • Stimulating new business in the community by developing ways to attract big retailers that offer quality jobs;
  • Launching strategies to support local entrepreneurship;
  • Improving public transportation;
  • Maintaining the streetscape by better lighting the streets and monitoring sanitation to improve sidewalk and road maintenance;
  • Building community involvement through the organization of rent associations and trust-building partnerships between residents, owners, school officials, and police; and
  • Identifying more employment opportunities for youth, and a way for them to engage in leadership programs.

Click here to see the Verde Summit Major Themes report.