May 14, 2009
AccessRI Final Presentation: The Roosevelt Island Accessibility Study
A Blueprint for Advocacy and Action
New York- Over the course of the past 10 months the students in the Master's of Urban Planning program at Hunter College have been working on their final studio projects. Today the work of one studio was acknowledged with a presentation of their final report to elected officials.
AccessRI is an urban planning studio commissioned by New York State Senator José M. Serrano to conduct an accessibility study for Roosevelt Island.
"My office has been working closely with the studio group from Hunter College, and we are proud to see them present the fruits of their labor," said Senator Serrano. "It really is an inspiration to see such a talented group of urban planners tackle the issues that most concern residents of Roosevelt Island, everything from accessibility to governance."
The goal of the studio is to identify and address the key access issues of the Roosevelt Island community in a community-based plan. The accessibility plan addresses transportation on and off the island, but also considers the community's access to government, health, emergency services, retail and recreation.
The collaborative studio is made up of ten (10) graduate students from the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning at Hunter College under the guidance of Professor Laxmi Ramasubramanian, M.Arch, MCP, PhD. The students widened their definition of accessibility to include issues verbalized by the community through numerous public meetings, focus groups and interviews. The revised scope includes issues of access to a viable retail corridor, effective governance, and public spaces for residents of Roosevelt Island of all abilities.
Over the course of the semesters, students hosted community forums and open houses to meet with the Roosevelt Island community. They attended countless meetings of various organizations on the island. Their outreach efforts specifically targeted three special populations on the island: seniors, youth and differently-abled residents. They launched a blog to remain in contact with the community, organized an open review of their recommendations, and hosted a youth planning charette with the island's Girl Scout Troup. As part of their continued engagement strategy, the students set up an Advisory Committee of community stakeholders to guide the planning process.
"This is a fantastic way to show those who may not be familiar with Roosevelt island just what it has to offer, and to show those who work and live on the island what it's capable of offering," said Serrano.
For more information, please check out the studio blog at accessri.blogspot.com. Pictures from the most recent events and information about the plan are updated regularly.