Beyond Green

Activating people around public spaces

 

Beyond Green is  a  project  that  started  under  the  umbrella  of  the  Civic  Innovation  for Social Transformation  Transdisciplinary  Lab  at  The  New  School.  It  is  the  result  from  a  year­long collaboration  between  a  group  of  graduate  students  and  the  Catalyst  Program,  an  initiative from Partnership for Parks (NYC) that helps create self­determined park communities through long­term engagement.

During  Catalyst’s  engagement  with  communities,  people  are  connected  to  park  spaces, get access to skill ­building programs, are connected with community groups and organizations, and are provided other key resources. We call Catalyst’s work civic activation; a process in which public spaces are used to leverage the power of the communities in which these spaces exist.

 

We have grown to use the bonsai as a metaphor for self­determined communities, since they are  both  special  but  contained  entities;  with  the  right  care  each  can  grow  in  strength,  uniqueness,  and  lifetime.  We  believe  that  community  initiatives  –these  beautiful  bonsais!–  in order to be really visible, accessible, and inclusive, need to be community ­led and exist in the public space.

The tangible outcome of our partnership with Catalyst is the Community Builder Kit (CBK). It is a customizable booklet that invites people to reflect on and identify community groups as well as public spaces in their neighbourhood and the relationship between both. The CBK is an open tool, available for download through the beyond green website. Each community is encouraged to use it as they see fit.

 

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