Increasing Physical Activity in East Harlem and the South Bronx Through Improved Access to High-Quality Green Space
Building Healthy Communities
September 28, 2016
East Harlem is slated for “upzoning”—rezoning to create opportunities for increased density—as part of the New York City Housing Plan. In preparation for rezoning, East Harlem residents have asked for a strong presence in the development of the neighborhood plan.
After several public meetings, a final report was issued, which documented the top 12 resident objectives and 232 recommendations. Health, broadly defined, is a crosscutting theme across all the objective areas and embedded in hundreds of recommendations. With its expertise and deep links to the community, New York Restoration Project (NYRP) led a subgroup that examined goals and strategies in the final report related to open space and recreation. In 2016, NYSHealth awarded New York Restoration Project a grant to implement several of these neighborhood plan recommendations to remove barriers to using parks and open spaces.
Under this grant, NYRP increased ease of connection and desire to visit existing greenspaces, with a particular focus on Randall’s Island. Specifically, NYRP engaged more community partners and increased directed outreach; created signage and other visual cues to facilitate pedestrian access to Randall’s Island; and promoted use of Randall’s Island through a resident-informed outreach campaign in East Harlem. NYRP collaborated with the Randall’s Island Park Alliance and built on existing work and relationships with the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund grantees in East Harlem and the South Bronx Healthy and Livable Neighborhoods grantees. Additionally, NYRP evaluated the project’s success through data on visitor attendance and space use and surveys of program participants and residents.