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Green Map System's blog

Green Map & TED!

Excitingly, our director, Wendy Brawer is now a TED Resident!

With 14 weeks of support to further the development of Green Map as an 'idea that matters" the residency culminates in the making of a TED Talk (see some of the most popular and search all of them here).

As you can guess, Wendy is delighted that she and Green Map are included. Based at TED's NYC offices, the Residency program curates a co-hort of 20 accomplished people, all briefly introduced in TED's blog.read more »

Cuba's Mapa Verde Network

space

In November, our director, her partner and Irapuato Mexico's Green Mapmaker, Nathalie Castiaux, met with leaders from the Centro Felix Varela, an NGO in Havana Cuba. Following a welcoming lunch with the whole staff, we learned about the wonderful week planned by the Green Map team. This group has led Mapa Verde Cuba for more than 15 years!

Led by biologist Liana Bidart, a team of five organized an on-target three day workshop with 40 Green Mapmakers at a seaside hotel. This terrific event included exhibits from eight 'nodes' that include 1863 members across the country, presentations by every group and co-development of 2017 goals, which include stepping up on climate change and women's empowerment. We also toured a community center and heard from youth, seniors, project leaders and partners, rounding out the story of this program's impacts. 

40 terrific Cuban Green Mapmakersread more »

Hola LES NYC Green Map

Mapping the green spaces of today and tomorrow’s developments

The Hola LES Green Map charts the speculative future of the ever-changing Lower East Side, highlighting existing resources as well as conceptual projects that contribute to the community’s sustainability and sense of place.

Manhattan's vibrant Lower East Side is on the forefront of climate change, like all coastal communities, and this map was developed as a resource to help increase the green spaces, sustainability and resiliency of the neighborhood. The Hola LES map highlights existing green living resources, development projects that are transforming the neighborhood, and speculative design ideas that can increase sustainability and resiliency.

The map (linked here with legend) includes research gathered during three mapping workshops, interviews with community members, historical research, and through participation in Community Board 3 meetings. It was built using the Carto mapping engine platform and Green Map icons. Below, find the embed code to add this to your website!

A nice crowd joined on a tour to celebrate this map's launch on Saturday May 7, 2016 - the event was both a Jane's Walk and a LES History Month event. Excitingly, later in May, our Director was named an LES Community Hero (photo to come).

The goals of the mapping workshops, which were held in Siempre Verde Garden in 2015, were two-fold: to map the current green space and sustainable living resources and to find underutilized space with sustainable development potential. The workshop participants explored the 36 blocks between Sara D Roosevelt Park and Hamilton Fish Park from HOuston to DeLAncey streets (“Hola”). We discovered places where new green spaces could be created from currently vacant tree pits and swaths of bare earth as well as excessive paving that could be greened, an emerging Green Wall, and hidden-in-plain view gardens. We also learned where solar panels are powering neighborhood buildings, about cycling resources, initiatives to re-purpose Parks buildings for community use, and more.

Our workshops included discussion about green infrastructure to address storm water, a problem that confronts many New York City neighborhoods (the 15 ‘combined sewer’ overflow points in East River Park are evidence of this condition). We discovered underutilized green spaces that could be enhanced, gardens where rain barrels could be installed, asphalt that could become permeable, and bare earth around a housing development that could be utilized as a rain garden or bioswale. These solutions enable natural systems to work more smoothly, so that storm water is sponged up and slowed down, which will help prevent flooding in the community and the overflows that pollute the East River.

There are several development projects currently underway that impact the Lower East Side and are relevant to the sustainability of the Hola LES neighborhood. The largest is the Essex Crossing development that will add 1000 new apartments and new retail spaces to the area. In addition, gentrification is an ongoing process, with older buildings being torn down or converted to luxury housing. The map charts these new building developments from 2005 to the present.

The Big U is a 335 million dollar project that will create a barrier around lower Manhattan to reduce storm surge impacts. With community engaged in planning, the first section will break ground due east of Hola LES in 2017. NYC Community Garden Coalition's 2-million dollar "Gardens Rising" project will add another sustainable layer to the neighborhood. Launched in November 2015, green infrastructure will be planned with 47 community gardens, including the five on the Hola LES map.

Other, more local projects include: the updating of the landmarks spaces Bluestocking bookstore, the Essex Market and ABC No Rio; the Suffolk Tree Stewards, who have taken the initiative to improve the trees and tree pits in and around their block, and the projected "Lowline"project, which could become the world’s first underground park.

The Lower East Side has a unique built environment. Looking back via the Viele Map and historical references, we can see how waves of immigrants transformed land where the Lenape people had lived, building tenements, places of work and worship as the population grew. Today, income disparity, litter, lack of green space and car traffic are challenges that we residents of the Lower East Side must address to assure the vitality of this dense, diverse community.

And yes…. read more »

Summer News!

Summer News and Events with Green Map
A Green Map Update!
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new office, new perspectives!

Green Map has ‘moved the mountain’. Yes, after nine years of great progress and global accumulation, we have moved into a new office in the same East Village neighborhood. We said goodbye to the Connelly Center, which is expanding its school into our former space, and relocated two blocks east. Overlooking a community garden and a lively urban streetscape, our new space brings us closer to our diverse community and local sustainability efforts. Our new address is 292 East Third St, #1A. We’ll be ready for visitors soon, and a fresh flock of summer interns is starting this week.

Projects this season include updating the Mapping our Common Ground book, which focuses on community mapping and grassroots sustainability. Created with Green Mapmakers in Cuba, Brazil, the US and Canada in 2006, much of the book will be completely revised with our network's involvement. The project is led by the great team at University of Victoria, and partly funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Our June 24 workshop in NYC builds on this project!

We’re also continuing work developing our research archive, shifting our mapping platform and gearing up for new road map (pictured above) and 20th anniversary activities developed by design student teams this spring. Yes, you can support our 20th year any time! Our board has expanded, too, adding Meredith Gray of the Coop School, Lela Prashad of NiJel, and Chelsea Wittman of Google. Our appreciation to outgoing board members Lara Penin and Randy Meech, too.read more »

Spring News

Mapping New Directions
A Green Map Update!
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mapping new directions

At Green Map, we’re in the process of moving! Not just where we work, but also in some ways, how we work.  As always, it’s an exciting journey in support of positive change.

This spring, we are starting the process of ‘going open’. It will take some time to fully explore options and set the course forward together with our beloved Board of Directors, Green Mapmakers worldwide, student teams from social design programs at Parsons and SVA, and members of the open source community. We invite your participation in this process. We believe going open will make it easier to for people to extend the usefulness of our outcomes and contribute leadership, energy and expertise that enhances our global movement.

Why? Our world and climate are changing quickly. More people need to be involved immediately to meet the new challenges we face, and Green Maps can help them do that!  Going open will help us share and further develop our toolkit more sustainably, equitably and collaboratively.

Watch for more news about our journey to open as 2015, our 20th anniversary year, rolls out! We’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime, we’re gearing up for a change in location: after eight great years, our uber-nice office will be turned into a classroom over the summer, so we are soon to encamp at a new Lower Manhattan location. Once all the dust settles, we will tell you where we’ve landed – and yes, there will be a party to say “goodbye and hello again,” in the near future.read more »

Researching the Research

Over the years, a wide variety of research papers have been written about our work, digging into the outcomes, locally and globally. Now we are in the process of assessing each one for the benefit of future research and for best practice sharing.

The Green Map Research Archive is an ongoing project that began in August 2014. The first phase encompassing 25 diverse papers was recently completed in October, thanks to our fall intern, Shannon Hollenbeck. Currently she is building on the project and moving it into the next phase, which involves converting the archive into an online search tool. Our goal is to make the theses, doctorate and other papers available with their documentation of usage online complementing our current page at GreenMap.org/universities.read more »

Green Map Icon Postcards!

Green Map Icon Postcard

Green Map is happy to announce our new Green Map Icon postcard - an easy-to-use reference guide for our unique set of 170 Nature, Sustainable Living and Culture & Society Icons.

Our iconography is among our most distinctive and vital resources and this recycled paper postcard is a great, resource-efficient introduction!

To get a PDF version of the postcard to display or print locally, choose 1 page or 2 pages.

Want some paper copies for yourself or your organization? If you can cover shipping, we will send you a stack for free! Here are the prices for shipping:

A standard envelope will fit 20 postcards, and weighs 4.8 ounces. To estimate your shipping price, go to postcalc.usps.com and calculate shipping from our zipcode (10002) to yours anywhere in the US. Or choose your country at the top.

For more then 20 postcards, use these weights to help calculate your shipping costs:read more »

Exploring Mapa Verde / Explorando Mapa Verde

Mapa Verde Collage

Cartógrafos de América Latina, por favor, deplacése hacia abajo para nuestra encuesta adjunta!

Mapeadores da América Latina por favor, desloque-se para a nossa pesquisa ligado!

Latin American Mapmakers, please scroll down for our attached survey!

Mapa Verde is Spanish for “Green Map” so we use the name Mapa Verde to describe our Latin American sustainability mapping initiative. It has grown significantly since its first project, Buenos Aires, was registered in 1998. Since then, the Mapa Verde network has published over 25 unique Green Maps in print or online, including several Open Green Maps. To date, Mapa Verde has published projects in 15 countries, with many more registered or underway. Now, to gain more insight into the processes, outcomes and impacts of this locally-directed work, we are surveying the region’s culturally linked Mapmakers, including all those from South America, Central America and the Caribbean.

As an intern at Green Map System and a University of Richmond student of Geography and International Studies focused on Latin America, it was natural for me to develop an investigation of the Mapas Verdes initiatives. After digging through Green Map’s archives of locally made maps, education and outreach tools, searching through resources online, and reviewing the project profiles on GreenMap.org, I have categorized a number of Mapa Verde projects, including a few that were previously undocumented.

The time I spent organizing and collecting project data only increased my interest in the Mapa Verde initiatives and the diverse developmental processes undertaken with each map. Consequently, it is my desire to move further with this research, answering questions such as, how has Mapa Verde impacted communities? How does each project collect data, incorporate member participation, and distribute their maps? And most importantly, has Mapa Verde increased sustainability in Latin America?

In order to gather the needed information for my inquiries I have created a trilingual survey designed for all Latin American Green Mapmakers. Directly appealing to each initiative, I intend to delve into the hidden layers of map production and develop an assessment that will inform future participants in the region and provide a qualitative analysis of Green Map’s effectiveness and uses.

With my findings, I will author an analytical report that will incorporate discussions of my methods, literary reviews, results, and conclusions. This research has been supported by the David D. Burhans Civic Fellowship, and will be presented in the fall of this year to this foundation, University of Richmond students and professors and the Richmond Virginia community. I would like to extend thanks to Wendy Brawer, founding director of Green Map System for allowing me to undertake this project, as well as Dr. David Salisbury, my academic advisor at the University of Richmond for guiding me through this process.

As of July 19, ten mapmakers have responded as mapped here. I invite all Mapmakers from Latin America to fill out the survey by clicking here. I look forward to learning from these responses and sharing the report here later in 2011.

Sincerely, read more »

Green Map, 한국에서의 첫 걸음!

Gyeonggi-do Green Map Website

지속가능한 발전과 쾌적한 도시환경을 모토로 삼고 있는 단체인 푸른경기21실천협의회의 주도로 진행된 '경기도 Green Map 프로젝트'가 성공적으로 마무리되었습니다! 한국에서 환경에 대한 관심이 날로 높아지고 있는 요즈음, 한국 최초로 경기도의 '경기도 Green Map'을 완성은 매우 반가운 뉴스입니다.

그간 Green Map System, Inc.와 한국의 정부부서 및 민관단체들의 Green Map 만들기에 관련한 프로젝트를 시도해오기는 했지만, 이처럼 완성되어 발간된 것은 처음으로 그 의미가 더 크다고 할 수 있습니다. 또한 경기도는 Green Map의 완성에만 그치지 않고 '2010 그린맵 컨테스트'를 통해 대중들의 의견을 모니터링하고 발전을 꾀했다는 점에서 매우 인상적입니다.read more »

Green Ethics

Tompkins Square Park Jam Session

“Ethics” is a good example of a term people use all the time without knowing the word’s origins. Of course, not everyone needs to be an expert etymologist, but sometimes it is interesting—if not, revealing—looking into such matters. “Ethics” comes from the Greek word ēthikos, which can convey a number of meanings familiar to us: morals, customs, principles, etc. But most of these words in modern times have taken a somewhat inappropriate connotation. Nowadays, these words have come to signify all the stern sets of duties one must adhere to, sometimes in the face of competing, though often completely natural, inclinations. Ethics force us to think about and ultimately comply with what is truly the “right” way to live. read more »

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