Living in a neighborhood plagued by pollution and poverty, South Bronx residents would like to see more green in their midst – namely, trees, open space and money. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's PlaNYC2030 would seem to provide it. The plan calls for a million new trees in neighborhoods across the city, with special focus on underserved neighborhoods like East Harlem and the South Bronx. Recently, the city also announced a new training program that will provide horticultural jobs for 30 New Yorkers.
Bringing 'Green Collar' Jobs to the South Bronx
Despite those lofty goals, Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx), a long-standing local environmental justice group, finds that PlaNYC 2030 falls short and even undercuts its own efforts to ensure a sustainable future for the South Bronx. "From our perspective, [the plan's creators] really missed the ball on the issue of what sustainability means," says Miquela Craytor, SSBx's executive director.
As an example, she cites the administration's tree planting efforts. Craytor points out that new street trees slated for the Bronx do not compensate for the green space lost to development projects like the new Yankee Stadium. Moreover, only 50 percent of new street trees survive, mainly due to lack of maintenance. This means that, unless the city provides money to care for the new trees, they could die and leave the neighborhood no greener than it is now.
Damn it, you weren't supposed to notice that part of it...