Fellowship Lays Out Plan For The Future
A unique program that offers graduate students some real world experience is helping to improve city life for all New Yorkers. NY1's Rebecca Spitz filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
There was a meeting of the minds in the East Village Tuesday between Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Preeti Sodhi. She's one of a dozen graduate students who was part of Stringer's Community Planning Fellowship Program last year.
"This is like the Peace Corps. They go into communities whether it's East Harlem or Washington Heights or the Upper West Side and they're told 'This is what we need you to do, we need you to help us with a planning issue -- whether it's traffic or the big building that's being proposed' and they go to work," Stringer said.
Each urban planning fellow is assigned to one of the borough's 12 community boards where they work 15 hours a week for an academic year. Sodhi worked on several projects with Community Board 3 on the Lower East Side.
"One of them had to do with using GIS, a computer program, to map the different liquor licenses that are in the board just to show concentrations, proximity to schools, churches things like that," Sodhi said.
There's a link to the map on CB3's website and the board's district manager says she used it during her testimony on a liquor license application.
"I said there are 38 full liquor licenses within 500 feet of this license. Because the law looks at 500 feet and the board was surprised. I said 'We got this information from you' because Preeti got her information from the State Liquor Authority. I gave them her map and it proved the point," said Community Board 3 District Manager Susan Stetzer.
The program is primarily funded by the non-profit Fund for the City of New York. Each fellow receives a $5,000 stipend.
Brian Baldor spent his time with Community Board 2, focusing on new development and the potential rezoning of the area that includes SoHo, the Village and Hudson Square.
"People care a lot about this area and I think that's true throughout the boards that you have a lot of engagement and it's great to see," Baldor said.
The community boards aren't the only ones to benefit from the fellows' input. Many of the program's graduates have gone on to work in both the public and private sectors where they continue to hone their planning expertise.