A friend recently sent me an article by Drew Costly that describes a movement to transition Rikers Island, a prison and psychiatric center on a 400-acre island on NYC’s East River, into a green infrastructure demonstration site, a place where individuals from local communities of color can experience alternative environmental action. Such opportunities are rare, and to be prized. A trio of city council members, Costa Constantinides, Helen Rosenthal and Ben Kallos, introduced legislation that became the “Renewable Rikers Act.” The City Council has committed to the plan, and the current prison that is Rikers Island is scheduled to come offline by 2026.
It’s one of the few places in NYC with enough space to allow for green infrastructure innovation to merge with environmental justice, and the vision is for this island to become a green oasis of sorts to generate solar energy and clean up water, while providing an educational opportunity for locals.
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