Sunset Park Green Resilient Industrial District – Implementation Plan

Students | Alexandra Belyaev, Mariah Chinchilla, Aeli Gonzalez Gladstein, Gopinath Gnanakumar Malathi, April Hurley, Allegra Miccio, Kinjal Mor, Browne Sebright, Jacqueline Ting
Faculty | Courtney Knapp, Juan Camilo Osorio, Leonel Lima Ponce, Ron Shiffman
School of Architecture, Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment

This report was created in partnership with UPROSE to explore transformative policies, plans, and designs that can provide implementation opportunities for the Sunset Park Green Resilient Industrial District proposal. The work, part of a Kresge Climate Change, Health and Equity planning grant. It is intended to support disruption of the status quo that is rooted in extractive systems and processes, which have obstructed the social, economic, and cultural liberations and opportunities of the multi-racial, multi-generational community of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and instead continue to marginalize the community and perpetuate its vulnerabilities.

The GRID Implementation plan includes implementation strategies organized under a three-tier frame of (1) Resource Sovereignty, (2) Green Jobs, and (3) Community Ownership and Wealth Building. This framework emerged from broader discussions on land use and economic development, environmental and climate justice, health and healing, and a just transition.
The creation of green jobs and careers within a local, resilient, industrial economy is critical to the development of the GRID. These jobs and supporting infrastructure, including food distribution and manufacturing industries, require a robust transportation network – from local to regional and national scales.
Environmental threats related to climate change are already shaping Sunset Park. About 11% of the population lives in areas most vulnerable to flooding, About 22% of residents live in areas with high heat vulnerability. The threat is exacerbated by pollution from peaker plants, and vehicle emissions on the Gowanus Expressway
These Sankey diagrams represent the relative distribution of energy generation sources and end uses in Sunset Park, and their potential transition from fossil fuel infrastructure to renewable clean energy sources, as stipulated by NY State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and explored in the students’ proposals.
Within the Resource Sovereignty recommendations, climate resilient and upland green infrastructure interventions are proposed that enhance stormwater management, reduce heat island effect, capture greenhouse gas emissions, improve public spaces, and are managed collaboratively to minimize green gentrification. Third Avenue below the Gowanus Expressway is an opportunity for such projects.

A central part of the Green Jobs proposals, Just Transition Co-op Accelerator would support the establishment of a remanufacturing-focused economy that preserves the story of Sunset Park’s historic industrial district. This facility is connected to a Resilience Water Hub, where residents are provided the opportunity to enter an emerging adaptive economy
Within the studio’s proposed community wealth building strategies, the establishment and management of a Sunset Park Workforce Exchange nurtures circular skill building and workforce sharing. Building upon a local currency model, this model allows UPROSE to utilize its capacity to encourage local spending and keep capital circulating within the community.