Professors Montgomery and Leonard

Gowanus Canal Articles Reflection

How could New York do things differently, what does “clean” even mean in 2020, and what right do New Yorkers have to a clean and safe place to live?

Reading the 3 assigned sources I tend to come to the same conclusion as Joseph Alexiou’s article. As he says, “Historically, the landowning industrialists and developers had a hand in the decision making throughout the process.“ The historical display he exposes through out the article indicated no clear progress over the years. Politicians and Developers are more interest in profit and budget cutbacks fo necessary plans engineers have created to allow progress. The very few progress that has been made in hindsight has really been when there is more interest from the people to creat a change. This mostly comes from locals of the area. There for New Yorkers should make allies with developers and push for a more beneficial zoning regulation of the area. They have the monetary power and the locals are the once that will be exposed to these changes.

The zoning change will creat a change in infrastructure and overall environment of Gowanus. According to the Department of City Planing the zoning proposal has been submitted. They say the next step is to have community input on the scope of work, and then an environmental review. It seems like at this point we are in a limbo period between the last community framework meeting last year in April and an environmental analysis to come? In reality the articles leave me with more questions than any concrete conclusion of what can be done to make this a better environment. There is no clear timeline of the next step to take. This just leaves the community to continue to push agencies and elected officials to move things forward. (197-a Plan, hmm?)

Maybe something will be done after sea level rise expose the rotten history of neglect from previous generations and things will start to move at a faster more urgent pace. The reality is that developers will continue to push for there economic gain and the community needs to step up to see this area get better. This needs to happen simultaneously because by the way things are going the canal will never be cleaned before development comes. Lastly, cleaning the canal seams imposible to clean 100 percent of the way given the CSO won’t be able to be contained unless massive container tanks are created to hold it all back. Unsustainable, according to Alexiou.

1 Comment

  1. J A Montgomery


    The chicken or egg question is important: cleanup then build or vice versa? The current pandemic crisis is hopefully a wakeup call for New York that we need to be ahead of these events rather than reactive. Climate change and sea level rise are equally brutal events facing our near future. Will we be ready?

    Prof. Montgomery

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