SUNSET PARK GAZETTE
The Sunset Park Gazette is a free publication developed by graduate students from the MS Design and Urban Ecologies Program in collaboration with community members and local organizations. This neighborhood gazette is the outcome of the first stage of a long-term research- and design-based project focused in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park. In this volume particular attention is given to school overcrowding, which has become a pressing and contentious issue with the increasing growth of Sunset Park’s immigrant communities. This neighbhorood needs over 3,000 new seats to satisfy the needs of its young population. Public schools in this community are among the most overcrowded in the city, some even reaching 147% of their capacity. There is an immediate need for new public schools and community learning spaces. However, despite funds have been allocated in the area, no action has been taken. Lack of space and political will have been some of the main constraints claimed by public officials and residents, respectively. During the Fall of 2016 students joined efforts with Make Space for Quality Schools in Sunset Park, a local campaign advocating for the construction of new public schools, and other civic organizations involved in education and community services, to expose the effects of the overpopulation in public schools and envision potential solutions. Considering public plans, urban development trends and housing market changes students envisioned ways to mitigate the over population of students by identifying spaces for public schools and community learning spaces and proposing planning schemes and policies to prevent school overcrowding in the future. Thanks to the efforts of teachers, parents, students and community leaders involved in Make Space for Quality Schools in Sunset Park, the School Construction Authority and the Department of Education committed to the construction of four new schools in the neighborhood in Spring 2017. This represented a victory for community members but there is still plenty of work to do to materialize those commitments.