FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 1, 2017, (212) 788-2958



After a year of planning by the community, the plan is to create 2,500 new affordable homes, cultural, health and youth facilities, invest in parks and economic development opportunities


NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer today released The Brownsville Plan that will advance community-driven strategies for the creation of 2,500 new affordable homes, new and improved cultural, recreational, and educational facilities, and business opportunities in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

“From public and affordable housing, to health care facilities, schools, and green space the Brownsville Plan represents deep commitment and passion by and for family and neighbors – and a blue print to protect and strengthen this important Brooklyn community. I congratulate you all. Now, let’s get back to work!” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“All New Yorkers should view their neighborhoods as thriving, inclusive places of opportunity. As the city continues to grow and change, community residents should have a voice in shaping their neighborhoods’ future,” said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “The Brownsville Plan represents a holistic, coordinated approach to neighborhood planning that puts the people who know their neighborhood best front and center. I want to thank our elected officials, sister City agencies, community groups, and local residents for partnering with us to create this dynamic vision for Brownsville’s future and lay out a roadmap for how to get there.”

Community input began last July and included dozens of advocacy organizations, some 500 residents, and an innovative collaboration with coUrbanize – an online community engagement platform.  One of the results is a comprehensive plan for the creation of affordable housing on public- and privately-owned sites, representing over $1 billion of investment.

In addition, the plan coordinates more than $150 million in City investments, including improvements to Brownsville’s parks, NYCHA developments, streets and roadways. It includes plans for a new community center for teens at the Brownsville Houses; and a new Neighborhood Health Action Center. Much of this work will be complete or underway within the next five years.

To create the plan, HPD worked with community partners and residents to establish eight targeted strategies and identify corresponding needs and goals. Together they facilitated public workshops, community events, and, with the help of coUrbanize, used web-based mapping, text messaging, and posted signage throughout the neighborhood to get residents to join the dialogue and envision an improved Brownsville.

“Advancing a community-driven revitalization of Brownsville is personal to me. I was born in the community, I have been proud to serve this community, and I believe in this community’s boundless potential. I appreciate the City’s focus on developing a neighborhood plan that promotes holistic growth and provides the foundation for a safer place to raise healthy children and families,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.

“The work to create ‘The Brownsville Plan’ and the plan itself represent the inclusive, collaborative approach to advancing key goals we should pursue. The process of engaging neighborhood residents, truly listening to their perspectives, and incorporating that community input is critical to both developing and implementing change. Our approach to goals like increasing access to affordable housing, expanding opportunities to participate in arts and culture, and promoting economic development should continually take on board the real expertise neighborhood residents provide. I look forward to the City-community engagement continuing over the course of the investments ‘The Brownsville Plan’ envisages and beyond,” said NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton.

“I am excited about HPD’s Brownsville Plan coming to fruition and helping the community. After months planning sessions with input from the stakeholders including clergy, community leaders, residents, and elected officials. We are cautiously optimistic that plan will be implemented in a way that respects the community,” said Assembly Member Latrice Walker.

“The Brownsville Plan appears to incorporate many beneficial and exciting features for the community. My office looks forward to supporting these various features as we continuously support high quality service and development initiatives for Brownsville. I am committed to ensuring that housing projects coming into my district are affordable for the residents who currently live here with median incomes at $32,000,” said Council Member Inez Barron.

“I applaud the City for working with the community and getting this plan together in a timely and collaborative manner,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal said. “It is time that we see this level of investment and resources come into our community to protect longtime residents and ensure our strong future. I look forward to seeing the details of the Brownsville Plan and working with all stakeholders to implement it effectively.”

“I'm truly proud of the residents of Brownsville for their participation over the last year to help develop the Brownsville Plan; the plan is reflective of the community's voice and vision and this is a mark of achievement for the HPD Brownsville Planning Process. Brooklyn Community Board 16 looks forward to continuing to work with residents, community groups and city agencies to highlight the historical and resilient narrative of Brownsville; while working to close the achievement gap for residents through improvements to housing, health, wellness, economic and cultural opportunities,” said Brooklyn Community Board 16 Chair Genese Morgan.

New facilities and affordable housing:

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 the coming months, HPD plans to issue a Brownsville Request for Proposals seeking proposals for the development of vacant City-owned land at Christopher-Glenmore, Rockaway-Chester, and Livonia Avenue that align with established neighborhood priorities. The RFP will lead to the creation of approximately 750 affordable homes, representing over $300 million of investment in the neighborhood.

The plan prioritizes another 780 affordable homes that are already in various stages of development on public sites throughout the neighborhood.  HPD also estimates that private sites will create another 1,000 affordable apartments in the community.

Plan Commitments:

  • The Brownsville RFP will lead to the creation of a new cultural center at the Rockaway-Chester site through coordination with the Department of Cultural Affairs.
  • Approximately $60 million committed for significant and impactful investments in Brownsville’s parks and recreation spaces.
  • Plan to activate Osborn Plaza as the Neighborhood Innovation Lab anchor site.
  • Open the new Neighborhood Health Action Center in Brownsville.
  • Create a plan for the revitalization of Livonia Avenue, including streetscape improvements to make the corridor safer and more attractive and integrating new retail
  • A commitment for 3-K For All in all Brownsville’s 23 schools.

A full list of planned initiatives, strategies and projects, along with a full list of agency and local partners including elected officials can be found in the full plan, available online here.

“The Brownsville Plan places parks and public spaces right where they belong, at the heart of a vibrant, healthy community. Thanks to the community engagement driven by the Plan, we have brought one of the world’s first Imagination Playgrounds and enhanced neighborhood partnerships to Betsy Head Park, Brownsville’s core public space. And, with $30 million in Anchor Park funding, Betsy Head Park will see even more significant capital improvements in the years to come,” Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, said.

“We’re proud to work with the Department of Housing and Preservation and our partners across city government on this transformative plan that will deliver economic opportunity, affordable housing, and an improved quality of life to Brownsville,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “The comprehensive strategy will build on our efforts in Brownsville and the East New York Industrial Business Zone to bring new jobs and opportunities to residents of Central Brooklyn.”

"Brownsville has some of the poorest health outcomes in the city -- life expectancy in Brownsville is 11 years shorter than the Financial District," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "This is not the result of lifestyle choices, but the result of decades of disinvestment. HPD's Brownsville Plan, along with our Neighborhood Health Action Center, seeks to correct this injustice. Together, we will lay the foundation for a healthier neighborhood."

“A thriving community exists when residents, commercial corridors, and businesses can experience economic growth together,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “We’re partnering with HPD to make this a reality for Brownsville, by deploying targeted services that will boost the community as a whole.”

“Culture is a key component of every healthy, thriving community, and we have been honored to participate in the Brownsville community planning process over the last year,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “Alongside local stakeholders, residents, and City agencies, we look forward to building on this foundation to ensure that every resident has access to arts and culture programming  in addition to affordable housing, open space, quality education, and other essential services in this vibrant neighborhood.”

“As someone who grew up in the neighborhood, Brownsville is near and dear to my heart. So I am especially gratified to see residents, elected officials, community-based organizations, and government agencies working together to strengthen the place I once called home. It’s a wonderful example of how connecting resources in a community can lead to tangible results that benefit young people, their families and the entire community,” said DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong.

“The Brownsville Plan has been incredibly valuable in informing our approach in creating the City’s first Neighborhood Innovation Lab,” said Miguel Gamiño Chief Technology Officer for the City of New York. “We’re ensuring technologies reach and benefit all New Yorkers and ultimately create a stronger, more sustainable, resilient and equitable future for all New Yorkers.”

"Through CCC’s recent community asset mapping project in Brownsville, we heard clear concerns from community members about the difficulties they experience accessing vital resources such as transportation, healthy affordable food retail, employment opportunities, early childhood education and youth programs, as well as an overarching concern around public safety,” said Jennifer March, Executive Director of Citizens' Committee for Children of New York. “We also were introduced to the wide network of individuals and organizations working to see to it that the community’s needs are met, and we applaud Commissioner Torres-Springer and the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development for putting together a comprehensive strategy to engage the community in expanding on these efforts and leverage publicly owned vacant space to bring new opportunities into Brownsville."

To learn more about the comprehensive plan, review a project summary, and track status updates please visit

Building on The Brownsville Hundred Days to Progress Initiative, The Brownsville Plan uses HPD’s new Neighborhood Planning Playbook, a transparent, community-driven process for neighborhood planning that involves working directly with residents and other agencies to ensure that new housing is accompanied by the other investments, services, and infrastructure that allow neighborhoods to thrive.