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NYC’s HOLA LES! Mapping Project

Hola LES! workshop #2 participants

What is Hola LES? It’s the name of a new Green Map project that covers 36 blocks between two city parks, from HOuston Street to DeLAncey (Hola!) streets on Manhattan's Lower East Side. This hands-on project is designed to highlight not only the existing green spaces around the LES but also to identify potential for new green spaces and green infrastructure. Along the way, we are involving different groups of stakeholders and testing out different mapmaking methods.

Workshops in May and June were led by us and project partner Professor Alice Arnold. Starting from Siempre Verde Community Garden, the workshop included a discussions at both ends of the neighborhood walking tour. Workshop #1 included many Civic Corps volunteers while #2 was a global affair, with attendees from Brazil, Japan, Denmark, India and the US. We're planning neighborhood residents and youth workshops later this season.

As we walked, we noticed and mapped plenty of trees planted along the sidewalk and empty ‘tree pit’ space around them, which has potential to be used as floral beds to make the neighborhood more beautiful and appealing. We marked tiny spaces as well as existing gardens, even the proposed ‘Lowline’, which could become the world’s first underground park. The project has support from Partnerships for Parks and eventually the resulting map will stretch from Sara D Roosevelt Park to Hamilton Fish Park.

Priya Bhashyam, our intern, noted, “The neighborhood walk was an eye opening experience; it not only showed us the existing green spaces (including gardens, potential green walls) but also how much potential the neighborhood has to make it more greener and resilient.”

A few images from #1 are here, our thanks to Peter Fahrni for the photo above. We look forward to sharing the outcomes of this project with you!