Learning About NYC's Vacancies
A land access advocacy curriculum and educational tool by 596 Acres.
Teaching about Vacancies: Help others find the lot in their life! Do you want to help young people imagine the future of their community? Want to grow something new on a vacant lot? This tool is for you! The activities are matched to NY State Learning Standards designed for students ages 6 and up, but the basics of each activity can be used with students of all ages and in any learning environment. The curriculum presents three important ways to organize around land: brainstorming vacant lots, identifying strengths among friends/community, and making fliers. Feel free to use or adapt this curriculum anywhere for anyone—in the classroom, in the garden, as part of after school programs, community-based education, or anywhere else!
You might also be interested in the following resources for learning about NYC's vacancies:
- New Yorkers for Parks, formerly The Park Association of NYC, published a booklet in 1969 geniusly titled A Little About Lots. With their permission, we're making it available here as a PDF. It's a nice primer on making things happen in public and private land in any city. There are some parts that we wouldn't recommend following to the letter (for one, growing vegetables in the soil!), but we appreciate that the first chapter, "Getting People Together to Help", focuses on organizing communities.
- Filling New York's 'Vacancies' by Jeremy Miller (07 Jan 2008)(pdf).
- The Center for Urban Pedagogy made a wonderful film with students in Brooklyn about the lots in their lives:medialibrary/2015/01/596_curriculum.pdf