Areas of focus
The members of the Canarsie Community Development Inc. (CCDI) Board of Directors were members of the New York Rising Reconstruction Plan for Canarsie that proposed the following projects in the amount of $11.9 Million and plan to monitor them through completion.
Grassroots organizing and civic engagement
CCDI builds, organizes, mobilizes Canarsie block by block. Grassroots organizing and civic engagement is a thread that connects all of our priority areas. Our approach to civic engagement and organizing is to first listen to residents’ concerns and desires for their community either through one-on-one interactions, regular CCDI meetings, and listening sessions. We then communicate with residents about issues of concern through our monthly newsletter which reaches over 500 residents. Finally, we create programming to address residents’ concerns and then connect residents to our work so that they can become involved and play a leadership role in solving community challenegs.
Climate justice and disaster recovery
CCDI co-led a multiyear community-led climate resilience planning project with the SRIJB and Public Agenda that brought financial resources and technical expertise from scientists, civic engagement experts, and policymakers from their network to Canarsie through the Cycles of Resilience (“Cycles”) project with the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay (SRIJB) supported by Brooklyn College and Public Agenda. Cycles is a community engagement initiative that helps residents identify issues, use science to refine ideas for action and align emerging priorities with city, state, and federal efforts. This ‘cycle’ can help create a stronger role for residents in prioritizing research and actions that prepare communities for the challenges of climate change and urbanization. Cycles strengthened the social capital of Canarsie and built power and voice for the residents to advocate for data-informed resilience and recovery policies and initiatives.
CCDI continues to build on that work through our initiative to create the first science-informed community-led emergency plan by creating a database of all assets in Canarsie. Each asset was assigned a Hazard Score, an Exposure Score, and a Vulnerability score, and used a mathematical formula to calculate a “Flood Risk Score” that was mapped on a 100-year FEMA Flood Map. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to provide each Canarsie resident with up-to-date information on how to prepare in the event of an emergency and where they can access safe shelter, food, gas, medicine, and other resources. The emergency plan was just granted a provisional patent that can be used for any coastal community in the USA to prepare for any emergency like storms, blackouts, or cyber-attacks.
CCDI’s community-driven programs increase community pride through beautification projects where we partnered with Canarsie Alliance to create Canarsie’s first community garden. For the past five years, we have given away $5,000 in plants and flowers to block association members to beautify their homes. As a result of the beautification project, we have seen a sixty percent reduction in complaints to CCDI and at the 69 precinct sector meetings in illegal dumping. CCDI also partnered with PaleFO Cinema serving as their fiscal sponsor when they were awarded $8,000 under the Mayor of NYC Safe Streets program to reduce crime in various hot spots in Canarsie by offering film screenings and film production exposure to youth.