Professors Montgomery and Leonard

Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 3)

Final Project Submission – Team 2

Final Presentation – Team 2



Presentation Link:



Annotated Bibliography:


Thank you,

Team 2.

Final Project Submission – Team 4

Hello All,

Final Presentation:

Final Outline: Learning Places_Group 4_Outline

LIB 2205ID_D930 Learning Places: Understanding the City

Jake Collado, Ronella Parma, Jake Heaney, Leandra Marie

Group 4


Project Outline

Research Question: How does the Government’s cleaning of the Gowanus canal impact the industrial and residential communities?

Excerpt from Public Health: ““People using the canal can reduce the risk of becoming ill by avoiding the canal water after periods of effluent discharge, rainfall, when the water is cloudy or turbid, or when pollution is clearly visible (for example , petroleum sheens).”

  1. Relevance
  • Public safety
  • Environmental Concerns (population health)
  • Industrial Concerns – Businesses forced out
  • High Cost
  • Canal essential due to location
  1. Background information and context
  • Opened in 1825, expanded in 1834-1862
  • Originally was a creek until the 1860s, when developer Edwin Litchfield turned it into a Canal cutting off the freshwater source.
  • October 1905 – Brooklyn Eagle reported saltwater to be pumped into canal; no set date
  • Place on the Superfund program National Priorities List on March 2, 2010.
  • The cost of the cleanup plan is estimated to be $500 million.
  • First argument with supporting evidence from your research


Argument 1: Black Mayo (Carcinogens) — impact of cleaning

  • 10ft thick of black mayo at bottom of canal
  • Is a mixture of sewage, tar, runoff from the streets, and chemicals from local industries
  • Negative for Community? (Black Mayo)
  • Possible air contaminants by removing the black mayo
  • Even If removed, the cause of the black mayo is still there in runoff sewage and industries


Argument 2: Jobs currently available around the Gowanus canal

  1. Gowanus Canal Conservancy
  • This organization strives for ecologically sustainable public spaces and parks around the Canal and is often looking for people to join their team both as volunteers and paid staff.
  1. Indeed
  • Current jobs looking for warehouse sorters, stock team members, shipping receptionist, content creators, receptionist, marketing managers as well as freelance writers within a 5-mile radius of the canal.


Argument 3: Community Housing Values

  • Several levels of communities surround the area of the Gowanus Canal from both private to public housing
  • Several apartment complexes in the area
  • go for the price range of $300 thousand – $5million
  • Zillow Pricing for Gowanus Area
  • While investors build luxury high-rises, the area has skyrocketed into a transformed community.
  • In sewage treatment side alone, The Environmental Protection Agency began overseeing the canal in 2010
  • Renovations of the area has increasingly improved to help rejuvenate the area
  • Gowanus Home Property Values
  • 1940 [Then] and 2020 [Now] – Photo Comparison
  • After the cleaning, will this change?
    • Currently, The Surrounding area of the Gowanus Canal is improving.
    • The amount of the money the City of New York is spending but the water and sewage treatment is going to be an ongoing problem for the next decade
    • As of 2017, Perhaps the numbers will change with an increase that will happen in the future with the 2019-2020 census


Argument 4: Gowanus Community Census Data

  • ZIP codes 11231, 11217, and 11215 all encompass Gowanus
  • Population decline from 1970 to 1980 & over the next ten years
    • 1990 to 2000: population grew +7.4%
    • 2000 to 2010: decline compared to increase in the overall community district.
  • Sample from 2007-2011 = population is on the rise.
  • Rising Tensions in the Community
    • Industrial Interests
    • Residential Interests
  • Population of Gowanus Chart (Census data)
  • Total Population in 2010, 2014 & 2018 Comparison
  • Gowanus Demographics



  1. Answer to the research question; is there an answer?
  • If cleaned, we expect
    • CSO still needs to be prevented/ managed to stop canal from becoming toxic again
    • The residential community to grow
      • Housing values & increase of social communities
    • Only certain industry businesses
      • Cement plants – need for waterway
    • Introduction of other business & home-owners due to community attraction (being near the water; open space; view of Manhattan)


  1. Recommendations for further study
  • Effects covid-19 will have on the cleaning process
  • Water Quality of the Gowanus throughout the next 5-10 years
  • Inflation of housing prices due to the cleaning process
  • Change in the public census over the last 10 years with the use of the 2020 census
  • Will there be more jobs constructed and available if there is an influx due to the cleaning process of the Gowanus Canal



Final Annotated Bibliography: Learning Places_Group 4_Annotated Bibliography

(PDF Versions: Learning Places_Group 4_Annotated BibliographyLearning Places_Group 4_Outline)

LIB 2205ID_D930 Learning Places: Understanding the City

Jake Collado, Ronella Parma, Jake Heaney, Leandra Marie

Group 4


Annotated Bibliography

Jake Heaney:
Kelley, Tyler J. “In the ‘Black Mayonnaise’ of Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, Alien Life Is Being Born – Facts So Romantic.” Nautilus, 22 Mar. 2016,

In this blog post, The author Tyler J. Kelly talks about Joseph Alexiou experience in traversing the canal in a rowboat down the Gowanus canal.  While the experience is telling about the condition of the canal, the blog post specifically talks about the black mayo on the floor bed of the canal and how it has gotten into the condition it is in today.  The blog also briefly talks about the different bacteria in the water which along with the black mayo could be a cause of harm to the community during the cleaning process.

“A Massive Steel Wall Is Coming to the Gowanus Canal.” Brooklyn Eagle, 5 Nov. 2019,

In this news article the paper goes over a way in which the National Grid the company is trying to help stop the growth of contaminants in the Gowanus canal, such as black mayo.  This is done by constructing a steel wall which is meant to prevent liquid tar from entering the canal system by a nearby gas plant.  In the article there is also a video showing the movement of the black mayo stating that they had to scrape the bottom of the canal so a larger barge can get through.

Spivack, Caroline. “Gowanus Canal Superfund Cleanup Begins: ‘You’re Gonna

Smell Some Smells’.” DNAinfo New York, DNAinfo New York, 25 Oct. 2017,

This article mainly focuses on the cleaning impact that will have an effect on the surrounding communities.  The article talks about how the bottom of the canal was partly cleaned of the black mayo and how when doing so they are making sure that any toxic material they pick up will be safe for the community. It also has a projected date of the clean-up to be completed in 2020.

“Plate 29: Bounded by Court Street, President Street, Fourth Avenue, Prospect Avenue, Hamilton Avenue and Lorraine.” NYPL Digital Collections,

This fire atlas map is really useful to the presentation as it shows that the area around the canal is heavily industrialized which could be a possible source of the heavy pollution in the canal.  In the map it can be seen gas companies and oil works which have helped the pollution in the canal grow.

Hubert, Craig. “What Exactly Is the Black Mayonnaise at the Bottom of the Gowanus Canal?” Brownstoner, 13 Nov. 2017,

This source of information is mainly used for the picture of the black mayo being moved due to an effort to move a ship down the canal.  It does have some interesting information to go with it but it was mainly just for the picture from the video.


Jake Collado:

Albrecht,Leslie. “MAP: Who owns all the property along the Gowanus canal” . 12, May 2017. Accessed on 18, April 2020.

Writer Leslie Albrecht speaks in this article about the power players, market control and the environmental contamination of the Gowanus Area. As investments run rampage  between the environmental affairs department of the Office of the Mayor of New York City, The Environmental Protection Agency and Property Market Groups. The money that has been spent within the prior 8 years as of the time of the writing of the article gives insight on the investment and resurgence of the Gowanus canal area. While not an exact primary source on the outcomes of same investments, it gives a proper outcome and historical mention.

Rugh, Peter “NYC’s Latest Luxury Scheme could leave Gowanus Residents in a Foul Place”. 1, July 2019.  Web.  Accessed on 18, April 2020.

Writer Peter Rugh Mentions on the situation of the raw management and continuing process of the level of sewage that seeps into the Canal Waterway. He mentions that while the EPA began overseeing the canal cleanup in 2010 over the objections of the city, the fact that the Gowanus Canal was declared a superfund site forced the city to “scrap its initial upzoning plans” but today persist on the commitment of the plans. Rugh also mentions that after Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the City’s department of Environmental Preservations installed a pair of sewage overflow tanks which has been noticed to cost $77.7 million to now $1.2 Billion. Housing in the area, both public and private, has also taken a toll to the reinvestment into the area with NYCHA converting several private own buildings into Section 8 housing projects, while also investing $37 Million to several units. Rugh mentions that the fact of gentrification in rejuvenated interest in the area will skyrocket rents and damage rent-stabilization.

Krisel, Rebecca Salima. “Gentrifying a superfund site: why Gowanus Brooklyn is becoming a real estate hot spot”. Columbia University. No. 14(2015), pp. 214-224. Accessed on 23, April 2020.

Writer Rebecca Krisel mentions in her paper on the Gentrification and Housing Market price bubble that Brooklyn has shown a level of gentrification that also allows “Industrial Displacement”(Page 6). Krisel also mentions the impact that small businesses around the area are faced with the waterways and the gentrification. To some it’s a blessing in disguise because of the amount of variety and the income gain from the new possibilities of tourism but to others it’s a problem due to rising rent due to the revitalization of the area. The journal is while not a primary source mentions the interactions of several shop owners getting first-hand the availability of the area while also expressing the negative opinions that the owners face when living around the area. While not deeply vital to the contributions for the presentations it’s the closest to the firsthand perspective while also serving a point of reference for the project

Zillow inc. Accessed on 21, April 2020

This shows the price range average of housing complexes within the Gowanus and Gowanus Canal Boundary Area. Both Real estate and Home values are different ranging near an estimate of  $1 Million, with the highest being near $3.6 Million.

“NYC’s Latest Luxury Scheme Could Leave Gowanus Residents in a Foul Place.” The Indypendent,

Writer Peter Rugh mentions the correlation between the level of sewage and the residents that reside in the area. The negative impact of the Black Mayo is causing a level of high rents and rejuvenated property value due to the restoration of both the water way and the gentrification level. Rugh also mentions the Official Parties responsibility and the status as of the time of writing for the canal environmental purification. Rugh also mentions the situation that was presented during 2012’s Superstorm Sandy and the high-water flooding that was poured into the streets while also mentioning the population housing stability with the high rents.

Newman, Andy. “Can Gowanus Survive Its Renaissance”. The New York Times. 17, Oct 2017. Web. Accessed on 5/6/20

Writer Andy Newman discusses the political views of the Canal’s purification efforts while also mentioning Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s office effort on the restoration of the residential and commercial businesses that roam the area. Newman also included photographs and firsthand perspectives of the Black Mayo and the operations of the resident’s thanks with the renewal process.

Trulia. Gowanus, New York, NY,5120,Gowanus/ Accessed on 5/7/20

This shows further information of the price range average of housing complexes within the Gowanus and Gowanus Canal Boundary Area. Alongside the Zillow information, the Trulia site allows further beneficial information for the research. Gowanus New York Home Value. Zillow Inc. Accessed on 5/7/20

This shows further information of the price range average including the Market Overview including the market home value and market range. Currently with the Covid-19 Outbreak, there is no record of the current market health. The Chart value allows further detail since the current market range per house is different and difficult to retrieve information.


Leandra Maria:

EPA Issues Administrative Order Requiring Start of Gowanus Canal Superfund Site Cleanup. (2020, January 28). Retrieved from

The Environmental Protection Agency had announced the cleanup of the Gowanus Canal in a plan that would take approximately 30 months to complete and will focus on the upper canal as well as 1st street turning basin. This is an interesting source to look at because it can support our points on progress made throughout the years and it gives a more up-to-date deadline for when we could be seeing a change in the Gowanus canal as well as the area surrounding it. This information was published January of this year and did not account for the Coronavirus Pandemic but still serves as a reliable source when looking at plans in place for a new and improved canal.

Jobs & Internships. (2020, March 30). Retrieved from

This organization strives for ecologically sustainable public spaces and parks around the Canal and is often looking for people to join their team. This type of employment opportunities are fitting for the area seeing as though there is an obvious need for the canal to be cleaned. This source fits well with our research questions because these types of employment opportunities are essential to the area especially if the clean-up could be beneficial to the residential community that is slowly taking over.

Neighborhood Trends and Insights (September 2013) retrieved from

This source gives a visual representation of the types of professions available around the Gowanus. The occupations vary from healthcare professionals to manufacturing jobs as well as arts and entertainment sectors. It helps to better visualize what jobs are available and hypothesize whether or not our research questions affect these occupations in any way as a result of the clean-up in the Gowanus Canal.

Jobs in Brooklyn, NY 11231. (n.d.). Retrieved from

This source is relevant to the presentation because it showcases current job postings for the zip code area around the Gowanus Canal up to a 5-mile radius. It shows the diversity and need for employees in the area and how businesses are currently fighting for the neighborhood. What used to be a concentrated industrial community is continuing to shift into a more creative and diverse neighborhood with evolving needs for employees.


Ronella Parma:

United States. Census Bureau. “ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates”. New York City: GPO 2018. Web,11231,11217&hidePreview=false&tid=ACSDP5Y2018.DP05&vintage=2018&layer=VT_2018_860_00_PY_D1&cid=DP05_0001E&mode=selection Accessed on 16, April 2020.

The United States Census Bureau provides us with demographic data and analysis of the Gowan Canal neighborhoods and its adjoining neighborhoods (zip codes 11215, 11231 and 11217). Not only is the data presented from an official office and is trustworthy, the neighborhood’s demographic data is broken down into various categories for further analysis and comparison. This data will assist us in answering our research questions as it will aid us to present data to support the increase in the Gowanus Canal residential growth. We will also use this data to show the changes in the neighborhood in comparison to how near one is to the canal.

NYCEDC Economic Research & Analysis “Neighborhood Trends & Insights” September 2013. PDF Accessed on 16, April 2020

In this document showing the neighborhood trends and insights, provided by the New York City Economic Development Corporation Economic Research, we will use the neighborhood’s analysis by developers to show a brief history of data for the Gowanus canal to support our research question of how the canal’s cleaning will impact the residential and industrial communities. With a developer’s analysis of the neighborhood, we are able to see how the canal affects the development of the neighborhood and whether the canal’s cleaning will help either the residential aspect of the community or the industrial, or possibly both. This document also provides an analysis of the neighborhood’s housing values, resident employment, economy and businesses.

Enman, Scott. “Gowanus Canal Cleanup to officially start in September”. 4, February 2020. Web Accessed on 18, April 2020.

Writer Scott Enman explains the Gowanus Canal is now set to be cleaned in September 2020, giving us valuable information to show the previous cleanup efforts and timelines for the Gowanus canal as well as providing the future of the canal’s cleaning. This article will aid us in answering our research question as it shows what we may expect of the Gowanus Canal in the future and helps us to provide recommendations for further studies. With this article we can draw references to the previous instances where the canal was set to be clean but was actually never done compared to now and if we think this cleaning will occur as well as if this is an effort to further a residential community or an effort to excite businesses.

 “Environmental Resources”. Accessed on 17 April 2020.

Gowanus by design, an organization, is an important source and reference for our group as this website spoke about the history of the Gowanus canal in terms of it becoming a superfund site as well as spoke to the status of the Gowanus Canal cleaning. The photos also used in this site were helpful to our group as they showed the importance of the Gowanus canal in relation to the city’s gas plants and population. This site helped us to further explain how the Gowanus became populated and why ConEd among other companies are held responsible for the canal’s toxicity. This website also addresses the concerns of CSO as we were seeking further sources to help us explain the damage to the Gowanus canal is not simply from the past but is still occurring today.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Archived Photograph of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Paper. 15, October 1905. Accessed on 17 April 2020.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle provided us with a news clipping from 1905 which spoke to the cleaning of the Gowanus canal. Although only a few words long, this clipping helped us to show the importance of the cleaning and the efforts throughout the years to get the canal cleaned. This news clipping also showed the city’s residents actively seeking the canal’s cleaning and helped us to prove our claims that the Gowanus has been a 150-year journey which has been the same repeating cycle, including the city’s lack of activity to help clean the canal and its avoidance of hearing the residents. We found this to be an important source as it’s not someone’s reflection or idea about the canal but simply a newspaper reporting on the current status of the canal, especially in 1905.

Thank You,

Team 4

The Gowanus Canal Reflections

Latia Vergara
LIB – 2205 ID
March 29,2020

Gowanus Canal Article Reflection

My overall opinion of the Gowanus Canal is that it has the potential to be great for residential living and new businesses as well. The organizations that plan to redevelop the canal and its surrounding areas must take their time with this project and consistently work on it until it is complete. In the past, the city, organizations, and developers have started work on the canal but backed out before the work was complete. Based on the 3 articles there are different opinions of what the capabilities of the canal are. Many believe that it can not be redeveloped into a predominately residential neighborhood. Due to the years of dumping and neglect, some believe it has reached its full potential thus far. Others believe it’s not worth the money it will take to redevelop the Gowanus Canal and the surrounding neighborhood. The technology and manpower it would take would be more expensive and the expenses would exceed the value of the land. History has shown that the Gowanus canal has many capabilities but it can not be developed in the same way that the Dumbo project was put together. It may have the potential to become something beautiful. The canal does not have the same resources around it that the Dumbo project has. The Gowanus can become residential housing but it doesn’t have the potential to be a waterfront community.

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.

Gowanus Canal reflection

New York could do things differently by studying from the mistakes in the past and be more focused on the cleaning process. First, the government has to see this issue as a serious one. Second, corruption needs to be gone. And the last is that the unity of the community has to be strong. After reading those three sources, I can see that they have many great ideas of cleaning up the canal, but not once the solution has come true. According to Joseph Alexiou, he said, “..the fix is ineffective and often makes the problem worse. Those responsible then throw up their hands and back away quietly, hoping that the next generation of decision-makers will fix it.” The excellent solution is the zoning plan. It actually worked in Manhattan, and it will work for the Gowanus canal, but because it will cost too much money, the government decided to ignore the issues. The problems of the canal continue to kill the residents without any care of the government. It is also clear that the issue isn’t only in the water but in the air. The word ‘clean’ does not only mean the quilty and the outlook of the canal, but it is the development around the area. Make sure that it is safe for people to live their lives around the canal and care more about the citizens who live there.

Gowanus blog post

In my own personal research there have been multiple plans created by the city  to clean up the Gowanus Canal for many years and nothing has been done. New Yorkers deserve a clean canal because its essential to healthy living. If denser residential developments is the future of the area around the Gowanus Canal than it is more than fair to also have a clean place to live free of hazardous waste.  According to the Joseph Alexiou article complaints date back to 1861 with reports of causing illness to people.  In all those years not much has been done to resolve the nasty sewage problem. I think New York could do things differently by looking back to the systems in place to contain the current waste and see what else can be done better to contain the smells and fumes coming from the water. Do i ever believe it will be clean? no. but i do believe that with the right motivation and plan the city can move toward a more effective way to contain/control the waste the surrounding structures produce.

Gowanus Canal Article Reflection

According to Joseph Alexiou article, the Gowanus Canal has been in Brooklyn for 158 year and we the people have polluted this canal where cleaning it is  nearing impossible or too expensive to do anything. Over the year we the people started to build factory, which dumping oil or chemical into the canal was ok and later it fix itself. Throughout year design to clean the canal fail due to poor engineering or overflowing from rain. What could us New Yorkers could have done differently? For starter we could of just pay attention on the long-term effect on us dumping into the canal.  Another idea is if the people who live around the area Brooklyn could have made donate on saving the canal and push hard for the governor or government to pay attention. The word “clean” in 2020 meaning keep your area from being dirty mess into healthy or polish area. New Yorker rights to have to a clean and safe place is like no hot spot for crime and no trash line around your streets.

Gowanus Reflection

Joseph Alexiou provided details on the historical development and environmental issues of the Gowanus Canal. He also expressed doubt that the Gowanus will ever be cleaned. Joseph mentioned in the article “In 1999, the city finally began to repair the Flushing Tunnel just as Carroll Gardens and Park Slope were coming truly desirable to big real estate and expensive places to live. It was the “if you build it, they will come,” mentality of cleaning up toxic waste sites.” This brings me to the question of what is the definition of clean? The definition of clean is to be free from dirt or pollution and free from contamination or disease as defined by Merriam-Webster. Repairing a flushing tunnel does not solve the issue of the contamination in the water. NYC rezoning practices are mainly concerned about money making rather than the health of individuals. Everyone deserves to live in a clean and safe place. Without clean air and water people are at a higher risk of becoming sick and unwell. The idea of cleaning up the Gowanus Canal has been as ongoing issue and I can say that not much has been done. What is going to happen 50 years down the road? Will the city be repeating the same old mistakes? Will the Gowanus ever be cleaned? I believe that before the city continues with the rezoning they need to seriously clean up the canal. People living by the water will pay lots of money to live in the area, not fully understanding the big issues of the Gowanus. They cannot continue down the same path, something needs to be done now.

TEAM 3 ZOOM MEETING 11:15-11:45am

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Topic: LIB/ARCH 2205ID Team 3 Meeting
Time: Mar 19, 2020 11:15 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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