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About GROW (Grassroots Reassuring OASIS Works

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 life.

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 space:

  • 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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?)
  3. Local communities should be engaged in planning, providing data for and implementing OASIS so that people will be more inclined to use it.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 NYCEJA (212-239-8882).

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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