Updated: May 17, 2022
Middletown Community Workshop, OSW Update, New Team Members and Black History Month
Karp Strategies, in partnership with Cooper Robertson and Langan, continued to gather community input for Middletown, CT’s Return to the Riverbend master plan. In addition to the ongoing online survey and the Main Street Market pop-up space, Karp Strategies led a second community workshop on January 11th. This is where the rubber hit the road, with the project team revealing design concepts organized into four distinct neighborhoods. The renderings—and the ideas behind them—were based on previous community input, financial feasibility, environmental conditions, and equity and inclusion principles. Over 120 participants joined us to comment on everything from increased parking and additional pedestrian access to outdoor classrooms and dog runs. Stay tuned as we work towards a final master plan this spring!
The design concept for Sumner Creek District
New York State (NYS) continues its leadership in the battle against climate change through its investment in offshore wind. At the Port of Albany, Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced two more offshore wind contracts for nearly 2.5 GW of capacity in service of the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). Senator Chuck Schumer, flanked by Representative Nydia Velázquez, announced a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop offshore wind support capacity at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. Of these new investments, Siri Espedal Kindem, president of Equinor Wind US (a Karp Strategies’ client), said “It…offers a large-scale, tangible demonstration of the incredible economic activity and carbon reduction potential being driven by New York's green energy transition."
With investment comes responsibility; in this case, to ensure benefits are equitably distributed and will help communities most impacted by climate change. The question remains: how to define the greatest need? The CLCPA calls for benefits to serve “disadvantaged communities.” Grist, a nonprofit media organization documenting climate solutions, recently noted that “New York environmental justice leaders propose new definition for ‘disadvantaged communities.’” In particular, the article explores the State criteria for prioritizing benefits and ultimately argues that how these communities are defined is critical—because it shapes how the benefits will be felt.
Across our offshore wind work from Maine to our home in NYS, Karp Strategies looks forward to applying our expertise in community engagement and community economic development to ensure further investments are made thoughtfully and equitably.
As our projects grow, so does our team! Please extend a warm welcome to our three new Graduate Analysts—Donovan Williams, Mel Miller, and Madeline Wachtel—as well as David Henry, who joins the team as Graphic Design and Communications Consultant.
Mel brings cross-sector experience in public health, education, and urban planning. She is pursuing a Master in Urban Planning at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, where she also serves as the Gramlich Fellow in Community and Economic Development through the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. Mel can typically be found exploring Greater Boston by bike or foot at varying speeds (depending on the day). Learn more about Mel here.
Madeline is a nonprofit specialist and social impact strategist focused on ensuring water-based projects are developed with communities in mind. Madeline is currently pursuing a Master in Food Systems at NYU with a focus on social enterprise management and ocean farming. On weekends, she spends her time turning an old tennis club into a small flower farm upstate. Read more about Madeline here.
Donovan leverages experience in community and stakeholder engagement, public safety, and mixed-methods research. He is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Public Policy, with a focus on urban safety and livability, at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. In his free time, he enjoys tending to his beautiful houseplants. Learn more about Donovan here.
Dave joins Karp Strategies as a Graphic Design and Communications Consultant. He has more than 17 years of experience in the design industry including work for the real estate branding agency The Seventh Art, as well as retailers Jo Malone London and DwellStudio. In addition to his design work, Dave has a Master's in Urban Planning from Hunter College. On weekends, he enjoys hiking in both New York and New Jersey. Read more about Dave here.
While the history and heritage of Black communities should be celebrated daily, Black History Month offers a focused opportunity for collective conversation. Around the country and locally in NYC, organizations are sponsoring events that highlight joy and leadership within Black communities, many of which our team is attending. See several below if you’d like to join.
Simultaneously, February presents a reminder to interrogate the history of urban planning policies and practices. To date, U.S. planning policies have been designed and implemented at the expense of communities of color, and of Black communities in particular. The history of urban planning is intrinsically tied to the history of racial segregation and systemic oppression. Though this history is always top of mind in Karp Strategies’ practice, here are some resources we’ve been re-examining this month:
The Daily episode, “Righting the Historical Wrong of Claiborne Highway,” shows how the construction of the Interstate Highway System impacted one New Orleans neighborhood.
This article from the Harvard Gazette summarizes a book and lecture about W.E.B. Du Bois’ role in founding modern sociology - inherent to the study of cities and their citizens. Du Bois injected science into sociological practice where none had before, acknowledging and carefully documenting how racial and power dynamics form social structures.
St. Louis public radio’s, “Sundown Towns 1890-1910,” shows how the widespread threat of violence in the Midwest led to racial segregation.
NPR’s Planet Money podcast highlights the research of Dr. Andre Perry, whose work demonstrates how housing discrimination continues to perpetuate the racial wealth gap (for more in-depth resources on the toll taken by this gap, also see Heather McGhee’s The Sum of Us and The Whiteness of Wealth, by Dorothy A. Brown).
99% Invisible tells of community leadership in the face of Jim Crow to create “a Black suburban mecca” in Collier Heights, Georgia.
Want to continue the conversation? We’d love to hear from you. As always, we welcome the opportunity to connect with your network of partners and clients or to work with you. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.