HABITAT

GREEN IDEAS

Community Gardens Must Make Way for Affordable Housing

New York City

Jan. 16, 2015Mayor Bill De Blasio is serious about affordable housing — which is good news for middle- and working-class folks who feel like they are getting pushed out of the increasingly expensive city. But it looks like the mayor's affordable housing plan has ruffled a few feathers. DNAinfo reports that, according to community advocates, "at least 15 community gardens on city-owned property could be bulldozed to make way for new buildings under the de Blasio administration's affordable housing plan." The affected gardens include nine in Brooklyn and six in Manhattan — they were on the list of city-owned sites published by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development this week "that housing developers can apply to build on." At the end of the day these community gardens sit on HPD-owned land, so it shouldn't — and doesn't — come as a surprise that the city needs its property back. But some residents told DNAinfo that what irks them is that HPD has other vacant lots that don't have gardens planted in them that could be used. In fact, one community garden on Saratoga Avenue found itself on the list, "while a vacant site a block away wasn't."

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