Is it Mayor Brown's "Brown" Code, because of it's failure to really include innovative opportunities for greening a city filled with brown fields?
Or is it the "White" Code, because it is being shaped primarily by input from affluent white folks (in a minority majority city, nonetheless)?
Either way we want to let city hall know that they have to work harder to address these issues. Last week we sent out a flyer to folks throughout the community to make sure the land use plan for the West Side neighborhood took into consideration the unique people of the West Side, and the unique opportunities the neighborhood represents. We called for three basic things:
- Food Production: In cities where many of the West Side's immigrants came from, food production is an integral part of the "urban fabric". Also many of these immigrants are looking to supplement their income by selling food, so safe commercial production of produce, poultry, and fish needs to be allowed.
- Pocket Parks: Parents lament over and over about the lack of playgrounds on the West Side (not one exists on the Upper West Side - not even at schools!) Kids play in the streets, and we need the city to identify vacant lots (that it already owns!) to build safe play spaces for people to stay active in.
- Air & Water Quality: The smells from the sewage treatment plant, and diesel fumes from I-190 & the Peace Bridge are something the neighbors are sick off, literally (45% of West Side residents suffer from asthma). Environmental buffers to prevent sewage from reaching our waterways and clean the air around our highways need to be established.