Brownsville, Brooklyn

The Brownsville Plan is the result of a community-driven process to identify neighborhood goals, form strategies to address local needs, and find resources to fill gaps in service. The Brownsville Plan will result in the creation of over 2,500 new affordable homes, representing more than $1 billion of investment in housing in the neighborhood.

New Development on City-owned land will support the goals of improving health, safety, community economic development, and the arts in the form of a new cultural center in Brownsville, a new center for innovation and entrepreneurship, and new neighborhood retail and space for community organizations, all paired with affordable housing. In addition to housing, The Brownsville Plan coordinates over $150 million in City investments, including renovations of Brownsville's parks, improvements to the open spaces on NYCHA developments, a new community center for teens at Brownsville Houses, and a new Neighborhood Health Action Center.

Much of this work will be complete or underway withing the next five years, and HPD and its sister agencies are committed to regular communication and updates on these projects. View the Executive Summary.

Planning Process

The Brownsville Plan builds on extensive planning work that has been conducted by neighborhood organizations over the past five years, as well as the interagency coordination effort during the 100 Days of Progress Initiative in 2014. Between July 2016 and June 2017, HPD hosted a series of public interactive workshops:

HPD also implemented an online and text engagement tool using coUrbanize, participated in community events to gather input, and convened a group of Community Partners with representatives from more than 30 neighborhood organizations who advised the City at bi-monthly meetings throughout the process.

Neighborhood Strategies

The plan is organized around eight strategies to guide City agencies and local organizations as they design and implement work in the neighborhood. Any investment has the potential to accomplish multiple goals, and it is important that they aim to achieve a common vision, consider holistic impacts, and identify opportunities for synergy.

01 Promote Active Mixed-Use Corridors

Increase access to services and amenities that bring activity to Brownsville streets, and couple affordable housing development with investments in the public realm to create safe, attractive, and accessible spaces.

  • New mixed-use developments along Livonia Avenue, New Lots Avenue, Hegeman Avenue, Rockaway Avenue, and Mother Gaston Boulevard
  • Commercial revitalization pilot project on Belmont Avenue
  • Livonia Avenue streetscape plan

02 Improve Connections Throughout the Neighborhood

Implement physical, design, and programmatic interventions that make it easier, safer, and more pleasant to walk and bike throughout the neighborhood, as well as cross to surrounding neighborhoods such as East New York.

  • Community workshops to create design solutions for public safety on NYCHA campuses and the entire neighborhood
  • New lighting and pedestrian safety improvements at dangerous intersections
  • Elevator and free connection between the 3 and L trains at Junius Street and Livonia Avenue subway stations

03 Create Active and Safe Public Spaces

Improve safety and health by creating high quality places for gathering, recreation, and community building.

  • Renovations at Betsy Head Park and Newport Playground
  • Cultural programming to promote community gathering
  • A new Neighborhood Innovation Lab at Osborn Plaza
  • New permanent light fixtures and cameras at Van Dyke and Brownsville Houses

04 Provide Resources to Support Healthy Lifestyles

Improve access to healthy food, community gardens, quality healthcare and wellness programs, and places exercise.

  • New Brownsville Neighborhood Health Action Center
  • Renovations to Brownsville Recreation Center
  • Improved access to healthy foods through Shop Healthy NYC, youth markets, Health Bucks, opportunities to grow fresh produce
  • New Teen Center at Brownsville Houses

05 Connect Brownsville Residents to Jobs and Job Training

Ensure City investments are paired with access to jobs and educational resources for residents, including opportunities in affordable housing construction and management.

  • Coordination between City and community-based workforce development service providers
  • Summer Youth Employment Program opportunities with local businesses
  • New Young Innovators Program pilot and computer science education in Brownsville schools

06 Support Small Businesses and Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Connect local businesses to resources to start, operate, and expand their business in Brownsville.

  • Support for M/WBE certification, commercial leases, and compliance
  • Storefront improvement grants through the Pitkin Avenue BID
  • New spaces for small businesses in RFP sites
  • Networking for local contractors, subcontractors, and developers in the neighborhood

07 Improve Housing Stability and Support Residents at Risk of Displacement

Improve housing quality and ensure that residents have opportunities to stay in the neighborhood.

  • Outreach to homeowners facing foreclosure or needing help financing repairs
  • New homeownership opportunities and HomeFirst down payment assistance
  • Local organizations trained as Housing Ambassadors to help residents apply for affordable housing

08 Support Capacity Building for Local Organizations

Provide support to local organizations to continue the plan's work into the future.

  • New cultural center at the Rockaway-Chester RFP site
  • Capacity Fund grants to facilitate community programming in parks
  • New Brownsville Community Tech Advisory
  • Opportunities for development teams to partner with local organizations through the Brownsville RFP

Developing Brownsville's Vacant Land

A critical strategy to the implementation of this plan will be a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the development of City-owned vacant land. An RFP is a competitive review process in which HPD asks developers to submit project proposals that respond to defined goals and guidelines that are informed by the community. Non-profit and for-profit teams are eligible to apply for and seek City financing for their proposals. HPD works together with development teams to ensure that projects are designed and built in keeping with the agency's standards for quality construction and environmental sustainability.

The Brownsville RFP, to be issued in summer 2017, will encourage respondents to incorporate that goals and strategies outlined in this neighborhood plan. The RFP will feature three themes that reflect community priorities:

  • Christopher-Glenmore, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Trades and tech training, business incubation, innovative building design, and neighborhood retail
  • Rockaway-Chester, Arts and Culture: Cultural center, art incorporated into building design, and creative retail
  • Livonia Avenue, Healthy Living and Food Systems: Gardening and healthy food stores, sit-down restaurants, services and community spaces that promote health, and building design that promotes healthy living

Past Plans & Studies