Neighborhood Activation Study: Crime Prevention Through Community Design and Problem-Solving

Neighborhood Activation is a new approach by the Mayor’s Office of Criminal
Justice to support public safety through community engagement and design.
Studio Gang, an architecture and urbanism firm, led Neighborhood
Activation studies in Brownsville and Morrisania through a six-month process that
brought together residents and government to identify design and programming
solutions to contribute to community safety, stability and wellness.

Even as crime has dropped to historic lows across New York City over the past 20 years, neighborhoods like Brownsville and Morrisania continue to lead the City, not just in rates of serious crime and shootings, but in high rates of asthma and diabetes, low educational achievement and employment. Given this concentrated disadvantage, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) is leading place-based approaches to facilitate coordinated investment and problem-solving. Improving lives in these neighborhoods depends on engaging a wide range of local and civic partners to creatively and systematically address intersecting problems.

Neighborhood Activation proposes bringing together neighborhood residents and government to re-imagine and activate the built environment to reduce crime. Neighborhood Activation will prioritize Brownsville, Brooklyn and Morrisania, Bronx, which are the focus of two key mayoral initiatives:

  • The Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety (MAP) works to reduce crime in 15 New York City Housing Authority developments and surrounding neighborhoods by improving the physical environment, increasing access to community programming and jobs, and strengthening the relationship of communities and city agencies.
  • Building Healthy Communities (BHC) seeks to improve health outcomes in 12 neighborhoods by increasing opportunities for physical activity, expanding access to nutritious and affordable food, and promoting safe public spaces.Neighborhood Activation is being led by the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ), in partnership with the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and New York City Police Department (NYPD).

Neighborhood Activation will strategically posit community leaders and residents as vocal thought leaders and partners at the table. Current community partners in Brownsville and Morrisania include NYCHA resident associations, community justice centers, youth leaders, violence prevention organizations, hospitals and health centers, social service and business associations, park and garden groups, and many others.

This initiative also has the support and participation of an array of partners, including the Brooklyn Public Library, NYC Department for Design and Construction, NYC Department of City Planning, NYC Department of Transportation, NYC Department for Housing Preservation and Development, New York City Housing Authority, New York Police Department, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, NYC Department of Small Business Services, Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships, and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.