How the pandemic brought private life to public space
The pandemic has changed how New Yorkers use public space. In spring of 2020, our streets and sidewalks were largely empty, a symbol of the profoundly scary, uncertain time we collectively experienced. In June of last year, the streets sprang to life as New Yorkers came together to call for justice, police accountability, and an end to systemic racism. As the summer progressed, predictions of New York’s slow comeback abounded as case numbers fluctuated and many businesses remained shuttered. Since then, with the expansion of the City’s now-permanent Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs, our streets and sidewalks have steadily become havens for social and economic activity. Parking spaces have become outdoor cafes, streets are dedicated to pedestrian traffic, and many neighborhoods without sufficient access to public parks now have public space to gather and play. Sarafina Fabris-Green recently explored these changes in the perception and use of streets through the lens of Jane Jacob’s Death and Life of Great American Cities for the Public Works IQ.
Public Works is pleased to announce that Jasmine Zaman has stepped into the role of Manager. Jasmine has been an Analyst with Public Works for 2 years, working with NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) on Raise the Age, an initiative that raises the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18. She has been working alongside our partner KPMG to develop milestones and dependencies and provide key support to track and report program progress. Congratulations, Jasmine! We’re also thrilled to introduce our newest team members, Jacob Ertel and Marissa Garcia, who are joining us as project coordinators. You can learn all about Jacob and Marissa’s paths to Public Works and help us welcome them to the team here.
Supporting Mental Health in NYC
Public Works is working with the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health to facilitate focus groups supporting a public awareness campaign for NYC Well, a city program that provides free mental health services 24/7 to New Yorkers. The campaign, called “You Have Options,” will launch this summer and inform Central and East Harlem residents of resources they have access to during a mental health crisis. A resident can call, text, and chat with a mental health professional through NYC Well, and the service can arrange for a Mobile Crisis Team with trained clinicians to arrive at the resident’s location within 2 hours. Look out for the campaign in Harlem this summer!
If you or someone you know needs mental health support, NYC Well is available to help. You can get in touch online at nycwell.cityofnewyork.us/, by texting “Well” to 65173, or by calling 1-888-NYC-WELL.
Emergency Management Corner
Program evaluation is an essential component of any program design process. Without effective program evaluation systems, it is nearly impossible to track the impact and success of your efforts, let alone present them to your funders. To design evaluation tools that truly work for your program, Kethia Joseph recommends doing the heavy lifting at the start of the program design process. If you’re thinking about what success will look like, and how you would like to measure it, before you launch your program, you’ll be able to collect consistent, reliable data that you can translate into success stories that will help advance your program. Check out the latest installment of our emergency management series to learn more.
One More Thing
It is (nearly) summer in NYC, and we could not be more excited! Find out what the Public Works team is looking forward to in the next few months.