596 Acres: Mapping New York City’s public vacant land

“Thank you for notifying the community about vacant land! I pass the lot on Myrtle between Marcy and Nostrand very often, and I always enjoy looking at the herbs and wildflowers growing there. I thought it would be a wonderful spot for a small urban farm, but I figured it might have been owned by whoever owns the condos surrounding it. You taught me different.” Email recieved on July 1, 2011, about 10 days after labeling the lot in question.

596 Acres is helping neighbors form connections to the vacant public lots in their lives.

Hundreds of acres of vacant public land exist in New York City, hidden in plain sight behind chain-link fences in neighborhoods where green space and other public amenities are scarce. We are building the tools for communities to get the keys legally and unlock all these rusty gates—and the opportunities within them. These include:

(1) making municipal information available through an online interactive map;

(2) placing signs on vacant public land that explain each lot’s status and steps that the community can take in order to be able to use this land;

(3) visioning sessions for education about public land holdings by invitation from community groups;

(4) engaging the community when an interested potential leader reaches out; and

(5) direct advocacy with New York City agencies.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/35546744 w=400&h=300]

via 596 Acres: About Us.