A sign outside Keap Fourth Community Garden on Williamsburg's Southside reads "El Jardin Esta Abierto"

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn – The Hancock Street Community Block Association has a wonderful vision for the transformation of an 18-foot wide lot that has been abandoned by the City for decades. Click here to see it. They need your help getting signatures from neighbors and letters from local businesses and neighbors in support. Sign up to Organize here. Print the petition here. Contact Mr. Leo Morris at to join the effort.

Lower East Side, Manhattan and Citywide –  596 Acres has started documenting un-used and under-used NYC Parks buildings. In Manhattan Community District 3 on the Lower East Side alone found ten (10!) buildings once built for the public, then closed during the fiscal crises of the 1970s and never re-opened. You can see them on our interactive map and add notes, files and photos and to become an Organizer; you can also see a printable map of all of them here, created based on our investigation as part of NYCommonsThese are opportunities for community centers, public restrooms, cooperative food businesses. Let’s get them back! The City is doing well. We need our public spaces more than ever. In the coming months, we will spread our investigation to the rest of Manhattan and the City. Want to volunteer?

“Rapacious development is churning and devouring neighborhoods. Gathering places are first on the chopping block.” Read more from Paula Z. Segal about development in Bushwick and our small contribution to the countercurrent in The Nature of Cities.

Around the world, people are recognizing that the city is a resource co-created by its users that must be shared equitably: a commons. The City as Commons: A Policy Reader, a publication of the Commons Transition Coalition, is a collection of specific recipes we can use to change the way we shape our urban environments. Paula Z. Segal’s prescriptions for the use of data-driven information to empower the co-creation of open space and elimination of tax lien sales for charity and vacant properties are included. Click here to read it and let us know what ideas you find most relevant to New York City!

“This summer I am trying to visit each and every one of the spaces that 596 Acres has helped create in New York City. I want to meet the communities around them and learn as much as I can about the spaces’ impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods.” Read more from Francisco Miranda, one of our fabulous Summer 2016 team here.

Harlem, Manhattan – Mandela Garden steward training today, August 4, from 5:30 to 7pm. The training takes about 30 minutes. RSVP: harlemmandelagarden [at] Mandela Garden is a refuge for Native North American Wildflowers. The gardeners harvest rainwater for raised beds. Their goal is to make the garden completely sustainable. You can help by volunteering to maintain the garden (weeding and watering).

Lower East Side, Manhattan – Next Wednesday, August 10, 2016, 6 to 7:30 pm. come to Siempre Verde Garden for the next installment of the Art in the Garden Series: Musical Mobiles and Wind Chimes. Create your own unique, rustic and recycled wind chimes! RSVP on facebook here.

Bushwick, Brooklyn – Sure We Can, a community-run composting + bottle and can redemption center, has launched a campaign to collect 60 million cans from New Yorkers (that’s us!) to raise the funds to buy the lot where they work, remove the land from speculation and secure the space for community in perpetuity. Click here to get your cans in!

Every year, over 140 million gallons of stormwater do not enter NYC’s waterways with untreated sewage because New Yorkers have built and maintain hundreds of community gardens. Almost every time it rains, NYC’s sewer system overflows, carrying stormwater and raw sewage together directly into our rivers, bays, and oceans. Community gardens absorb stormwater throughout the city, helping to prevent this, and many are in flood zones – particularly critical to protecting our waterways. Read more from Mara Gittleman, New York City Community Garden Coalition Board member here.

Check out our list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot.

Gardener in Mandela Garden in Harlem

Mandela Garden needs your tweets to Mayor DeBlasio (@BilldeBlasio): #savemandelagarden

Grass between the toes to all,
596 Acres

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