Grassroots Reassuring OASIS Works (GROW)
seeks to give local communities a direct mechanism to help create
and nurture the development of the OASIS Cooperative. Furthermore,
it seeks to help local communities develop the resources, technology
and information they need to turn open space to green space and
brownfields to greenfields and enhancing the quality of urban
The OASIS mission statement calls for the development of "an accessible
information system that helps enhance the stewardship of open space so
that these area are linked, diverse, and sustainable for the benefit of
New York City." During the process that resulted in the selection of
NYPIRG CMAP as the OASIS web site developer, the New York City Environmental
Justice Alliance (NYCEJA) and the Green Map System (Green Map) proposed
GROW (Grassroots Reassuring OASIS Works) needs assessment workshops
to explore if, and in what ways, OASIS could be accessible and useful to
New Yorkers of all backgrounds, ages, and means.
GROW's first goal has been to give a selection of local groups a direct
mechanism to help create OASIS by contributing information and ideas to
the Steering Committee. The second GROW goal has been to work with these
same local groups to identify the resources, information and technology
that their communities need in order to use OASIS successfully to enhance
urban life through the creation of more green open space. NYCEJA and Green
Map identified five community groups, who are listed below, to help assess,
research and identify the information and resources that communities need
to advocate for, plan, acquire and redevelop diverse and sustainable open
East New York Urban Youth Corps in Brooklyn
- The Community Environmental Center
in Long Island City, Queens
- Project Harmony in Harlem, Manhattan
Nos Quedamos/We Stay in the Melrose
section of the Bronx
Red Hook GAGS (Groups Against Garbage
Sites) in Brooklyn
These GROW partners have worked together to develop design and
content ideas for the OASIS website. During two, half-day workshops
conducted this fall, the GROW partners made the following
recommendations in an effort to ensure that OASIS is accessible and
useful to diverse communities with an emphasis on those with the
least access to green open space and internet technologies.
GROW Partner Recommendations
- OASIS should be simple and easy to use. Priority consideration
should be given to providing access to working people on fixed
incomes that have no household access to the internet, and others
who don't have access to or cannot use a computer.
- OASIS should provide a list with links to open space, greening
and environmental groups, including the resources that they provide
(e.g. grants, technical assistance, materials, advocacy support).
OASIS should also make research easier (e.g. who provides technical
assistance on horticulture or urban forestry?)
- Local communities should be engaged in planning, providing data
for and implementing OASIS so that people will be more inclined to
- Planning for open space needs should be linked to other planning
processes to create a comprehensive planning system linked to real
communities and their needs.
- Local groups as well as technicians should be able to update OASIS
to ensure that information is up-to-date. More complete information
regarding a vacant lot's potential as a green space will enhance the
quality of the resulting green space.
- OASIS should set up or enhance existing community-based technology
resource centers so that people can: 1) access OASIS readily; 2) have
personal assistance to build their skills and capacities; 3) be trained
in adding data to OASIS.
Ultimately, GROW's aim has been to expand the OASIS development
process. Beyond solely talking about community needs, GROW has given
some grassroots organizations the opportunity to interject their needs
and critiques of the OASIS concept, outcomes and resources. How OASIS
evolves following this pilot phase will demonstrate how committed the
system of agencies, organizations and individuals is to making grassroots
communities (for whose use OASIS is largely intended) full partners in
the vision and continued development of this information system.
For further information on GROW, please contact Wendy Brawer or Bob
Zuber at Green Map System
(212-674-1631) or Hugh Hogan at
Proceedings of the GROW Workshops:
- Workshop 1 - Final Report to Steering Committee
Click Here for PDF document.
- Workshop 2 - Final Notes - Report Pending
Click Here for PDF document.
(These documents require
Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
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