We believe in working with communities to reimagine public spaces, promoting positive activities and increasing safety.
Placemaking focuses on increasing participation in the public square. The philosophy behind placemaking goes back to the 1960s and pioneering writers such as Jane Jacobs who believed the best indicator of the resiliency and safety of a neighborhood is the vitality of its public life.
A good example of our placemaking work is in the efforts in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn. Our Brownsville Community Justice Center helped start a community-wide effort to turn a distressed shopping corridor to a thriving civic and commercial district. The Belmont Revitalization Project created an award-winning space for block parties, festivals, and street markets. The pedestrian plaza was chosen to anchor New York City’s first Neighborhood Innovation Lab. After surveying residents of a local public housing development, the Justice Center also worked with young people to create a youth and community clubhouse on a formerly vacant lot.
Other placemaking work that we have done in Brownsville and in Crown Heights, Brooklyn includes public art installations, neighborhood signage and branding campaigns, and horticulture projects.
Brownsville Community Justice Center
The Brownsville Community Justice Center works to reduce crime and incarceration, and strengthen community trust in justice in central Brooklyn.
Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
The Mediation Center seeks to improve community problem-solving, collaboration, and inter-group relations in Crown Heights.
This monograph starts with a question: What can we do differently to enhance public safety, reduce the use of incarceration, and improve public perceptions of justice in a Brooklyn neighborhood that experiences both high crime and high rates of incarceration?
New York Public Radio profiles the young coders in the tech lab at our Brownsville Community Justice Center in central Brooklyn, using augmented reality to tell real Brownsville stories and imagine new possibilities for the neighborhood.