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Staten Island ‘culture plan’ outlines ways to improve the borough’s North Shore

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Ideas include creating public spaces that celebrate local culture and diversity along the waterfront

The city is working hard to cast Staten Island as something more than just the stepchild borough by taking steps to make it more appealing. In two years, the island’s North Shore will boast the New York Wheel, a 630-foot observation wheel that will be one of the tallest in the world and new residential developments like Urby is hoping to draw a crowd that would typically flock to Brooklyn or Manhattan. A lot of effort is being put into making the disconnected borough, dare we say, a desirable destination.

In a recent community forum, Staten Island Arts along with the Design Trust for Public Space outlined strategies for ways in which to revitalize, improve sustainability, and boost economic development within the rapidly changing North Shore (Staten Island’s waterfront). The meeting kicked off the first of a series of feedback sessions as part of the Future Culture: Connecting Staten Island’s Waterfront project.

Residents already have many ideas on how to improve their community, but ultimately, the agenda for Future Culture is to foster local culture by cultivating quality public spaces that will promote creativity, diversity, enhance along the waterfront area as well as nearby neighborhoods.

“With Future Culture, we’ve harnessed the power of the arts and quality public space to lift up the rich and diverse cultural heritage and human capital of Staten Island.” said Executive Director for Design Trust for Public Space, Susan Chin.

The list of initial ideas is already outstanding but here are a few key ones:

  • Form a North Shore Cultural Station, a cultural committee, an investment fund, and a fellowship program;
  • Determine sites, resources, and sponsors for large festivals, events, performances, ongoing programming series, and educational programming that prioritize collaboration with immigrant- and heritage-based organizations and groups;
  • Create a map of local cultural assets and wayfinding strategies to encourage local exploration beyond the ferry terminal and connecting public- and privately-owned sites to routes of discovery;
  • Create enhanced, connected, high-performance green spaces that promote urban ecological diversity, foster resiliency, and safeguard direct access to the water’s edge; among many others.

The project aims to remain mindful of community recommendations that were obtained before the Future Culture project kicked off and the cultural plan is hoping to complement the city’s rezoning of the Bay Street Corridor in 2017-18.