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596 acres

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596 Acres.org
This map shows sites of potential community projects. We have taken several different sources of information about vacant publicly owned land, chosen the most accurate information from each and shared them here. This is our commons. We also add few private lots whose owners have volunteered their land for community use.

Tools for Land Access Advocacy +Local Community Land Access Campaign Support in NYC
Tools for Community Land Access Advocates

We’re creating a practice of building online tools neighbors can use to clear hurdles to community land access. The tools turn city data into information about particular pieces of land and connect people to one another through simple social networking functions.

We’re really proud of these partnerships:

Grounded In Philly, with the Garden Justice Legal Initiative at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia;
Growing Cities, The Movie: Grow Where You Are;
LA Open Acres with Community Health Councils (Los Angeles, California) and C-Lab (NYC); &
Living Lots, a prototype supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to meet the needs of the New Orleans Food and Farm Network‘s Farm This Now! Campaign.

We support groups creating community land access tools in their own cities through open source code and hands-on mentorships. We are also the convener of an international Community Land Access Advocacy network that will have its first in-person meeting this spring: save the date for Turning Our Vacant Acres into Community Resouces on April 22 & 23, 2014, at the New School in New York City.

In New York City we are community land access advocates and use one of our tools. Our NYC Land Commuity Access Program started in Brooklyn in May 2011. Click for a PDF version of our 2011-2012 Recap and these incredible impacts in 2013! There are now 20 new spaces in New York with official permission to transform public vacant lots into something better.

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. In response to a steady stream of inquiries, in 2013 we expanded our work to support communities organizing for control of warehoused private land.

596 Acres creates tools to help neighbors find the lot in their lives by:

(1) 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);

(2) providing education about city government and ways to participate in decisions that shape neighborhoods;

(3) assisting communities with legal support and campaign-development on land use issues;

(4) maintaining networks that allow communities to share knowledge and relationships with decision-makers;

(5) 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

(6) advocating for municipal agencies to increase participatory decision-making surrounding public resources.

We create beautiful print materials as public education and documentation of our collective efforts creating our cities.

596 Acres is a project of the Fund for the City of New York.

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