30 September 2011

#occupy - how to get involved.


With so many people Occupying Wall Street in New York City and its various counterparts across the nation and beyond - we thought it would be good to post a few resources for teachers, students, and artists who want to get involved.  This is just a small fraction of what's going on, so please feel free to leave comments to add to the list!  Here are five tips for those of us joining this movement:
  1. The Occupy Wall Street website allows you to create an account so you can add your name to the list of attendees - check it out here - and get a sense of how far reaching this movement is.
  2. Attend an New York City General Assembly Arts and Culture Committee meeting - every day, 6:00 pm.
  3. Join the Wall Street Arts and Culture listserv.
  4. Check out the livestream - or better yet, go there yourself!
  5. Schedule a teach-in!
    • The available time to schedule teach-ins or discussions is generally daily between 4:30 and 7 pm. If you would like to participate or have questions, please contact Sid Gurung from the Student Committee at gurus655@newschool.edu

29 September 2011

Participatory Budgeting


What would you do with $1 million dollars? 
Starting in October, Taxpayers Will Decide How to Spend Millions of NYC Budget DollarsNew York City is about to experience a new kind of democracy. [Name of organization] is proud to be a partner for a groundbreaking experiment in grassroots democracy, called "participatory budgeting". Together with four City Council Members and a broad coalition of organizations, we are undertaking an exciting initiative to put budget decisions directly in the hands of the people those decisions impact most – city residents. 

In October, residents of four diverse City Council districts from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, will come together to decide how to spend around $6 million of taxpayer money. In each district, they will decide what to do with at least $1 million of the districts' capital funding budget, the part of the budget that is used to repair streets, improve parks, buy school technology, or build bike lanes. Community members will exchange and debate ideas, work together to turn ideas into project proposals, and then decide what projects get funded at the ballot box. The process will make budgeting more transparent and accessible. It will open up participation to people who have never been involved before. And it will make budgeting more effective, because who knows better what is needed in our communities than the people who live there? 

Come out to a neighborhood assembly in October to learn more and submit project ideas. The first assemblies start next week:

Monday, October 3: 45th District Assembly (East Flatbush)
6:30pm – 9:00pm
TOP Civic Center (1098-1100 Utica Avenue, Between Beverly & Clarendon Roads) 

Wednesday, October 5: 39th District Assembly (Park Slope)
6:30pm – 9:00pm
Old First Reformed Church, 729 Carroll Street

Thursday, October 6: 8th District Assembly (East Harlem)
6:30pm – 9:00pm
Yorkville Common Pantry 8 E. 109th Street (between Madison & Fifth Avenues)

See http://pbnyc.org/ for the full schedule of assemblies and more information.
AS A PRATT MEMBER, YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET INVOLVED AND LEARN ABOUT THIS INNOVATIVE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS!!!
 How can you get involved? 

1) Free (volunteer) or very, very low cost written translation for the following languages for educational and outreach materials and surveys and questionnaires.
  • Spanish
  • Mandarin
  • Yiddish
  • Russian
  • Polish
  • Bengali/Bangala
2) There may still be need for experienced facilitators for the neighborhood assemblies, and people to conduct interviews and observations to help out with the research on the process. If you have experience in conducting community forums, please contact me or Josh Lerner josh@participatorybudgeting.org ASAP to participate in the training sessions TONIGHT and on Tuesday night in the city.
3) We will also need with technical support to district delegates in their work later this semester and at the beginning of the new year, and with the national conference that we are planning to co-host in early Spring...
Read more on the process at http://www.participatorybudgeting.org

12 September 2011

From Complete Streets to Complete Cities

Pratt Institute’s Programs for Sustainable Planning & Development invites you to a lecture in conjunction with Pratt’s 125thAnniversary Kickoff weekend!

Mark Gorton, founder of OpenPlans.org: “From Complete Streets to Complete Cities.” Followed by discussion with: Eddie Bautista - Executive Director, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance Elena Conte – Public Policy Campaign Organizer, Pratt Center for Community Development Moderated by Andy Wiley-Schwartz, Assistant Commissioner, NYC Department of Transportation Mark Gorton, the founder of a series of innovative financial and technology companies, is a leading advocate for alternative transportation and livable streets.

 In “From Complete Streets to Complete Cities” he explores the history of transportation in New York City with a focus on how policies that prioritize the car have diminished many other aspects of life in the city. As a cyclist, pedestrian, neighbor, and parent, Gorton questions why we have allowed automobiles to transform our streets from vibrant places full of play, human interaction, and commerce, into dangerous, stress-inducing thoroughfares.

 Saturday, October 1
11:30am-1pm
Higgins Hall South room 111
61 St. James Place (at Lafayette)
Brooklyn, NY
RSVP to ltauber@pratt.edu