"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

596 Acres

Location: New York, NY

Website: www.596acres.org

We build online organizing platforms for land access advocates and facilitators. In New York City we are land access advocates and use one of our platforms.

Hundreds of acres of vacant public land are hidden in plain sight behind chain-link fences in New York City, concentrated in neighborhoods disproportionately deprived of beneficial land uses.

We are building the tools for communities to open all these rusty fences and the opportunities within them to improve the areas they live in by:

- Making municipal information available online and on the ground (e.g. by placing signs on vacant public land that explain a lot’s status and steps that the community can take to be able to use this land.

- Providing education about city government and ways to participate in decisions that shape neighborhoods,

- Assisting communities with legal support and campaign-development on land use issues,

- Maintaining a network that allows communities to share knowledge and relationships with decision-makers, and

- Working with groups after they get access to land to build sustainable community governance as they become stewards of a public and inclusive resource; and

- Advocating for municipal agencies to increase participatory decision-making surrounding public resources.

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