Gowanus Canal

Brooklyn Tech Triangle

Newtown Creek

Social infrastructure, as defined for our project, represents the underlying foundation of the relationship and interactions between the individuals and the groups in the area of research. The practical application of looking at the social infrastructure could be in identification of different forces at play, understanding of their relationship to each other and how the local neighborhood community can resist the unwilling developments in their area.

In the Brooklyn Tech Triangle an important role in the local social infrastructure play business improvement districts (BIDs). Two of them - DUMBO BID and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (which itself manages three other BIDs in the area - the MetroTech BID, Fulton Mall Improvement Association, and Court-Livingston-Schermerhorn BID) together with Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation came up with a development plan for the area in order to create a tech hub in Brooklyn. These changes are driving a wave of gentrification in the area including the increase of rent prices, construction of out-of-scale and out-of-place new luxury residential and office buildings. At the same time, there are two NYCHA public housing developments in the area. NYCHA community centers, churches, local art and grassroots organizations that provide residential and social services constitute an important potential for consolidation of local forces in order to resist the development that long-term residents are not eager to see in their neighborhoods.

Newtown Creek is the oldest continuously used industrial area as well as one of the most polluted neighborhoods in the country. With various State Superfund Sites, DEC Brownfield Sites, Waste Transfer Station and Air Emissions Facilities, health issues are among the most important in the community. Because of these environmental concerns, community organizations are especially important in the fight for the revitalization and remediation of the area. Groups such as the Newtown Creek Alliance, Greenpoint Waterfront Association and Newtown Creek Coalition are all working towards improvement and preservation of the natural and historic resources in the community, and communication and partnership is crucial when taking on such an endeavor. In addition to environmental and historical preservation organizations, Newtown Creek also has organizations for the arts, youth and social services, and religious groups.