10. Allow and encourage local organizations to apply for public realm activation permits as coalitions of community partners.

In many underserved communities, local organizations often have mixed levels of funding, resources, skill sets, and professional licenses or insurance coverage that need to be brought together to further empower action by local groups as collective groups.

“We’d love to see consistent and diverse programming. The thing right in front of you is the thing you know. Without a diverse coalition of people, you end up doing the thing you know.” Friends of Diversity Plaza

The City's existing public realm regulatory processes and programs (permits, licenses, financial assistance and technical assistance programs), however, often limit applications to single entities or organizations, and do not foster cross-collaboration and coalition-building at the local level. Community groups, therefore, often compete for resources and assistance with one another, or local public spaces end up being managed and activated by a single, well-resourced organization that may not necessarily represent the varied interests of local stakeholders.

︎ A User Experience
︎ B Long-Term Coordination
︎ C Inclusive Design
︎ D Collaboration and Communication
︎ E Support commerce and entrepreneurship

︎ Process / Regulatory Framework
︎ Funding
︎ Technical Assistance

HOW TO IMPLEMENT As part of the unification of public space permit application processes (see earlier recommendation), the Public Realm Working Group should:

Ensure that all permit applications and grant applications relating to public realm management and activation allow for more than one applicant of record. Key applicant roles may include:

    1. fiduciary partner (to sign any grant agreements and administer funds).

    2. operational partner (to lead and coordinate the planning and management of any activations/events).

    3. outreach/engagement partner (to lead all public outreach and engagement activities leading up to, and during, program dates).

“This is NYC, people know how to use the street. People are just dying for space. I love getting the chance to be the connector. It’s kind of like the story of stone soup. People don’t believe there’s soup. And then you put the stone in the pot and people are like ‘oh, amazing! I have carrots.’ ‘Oh, I have celery.’ It’s like that with the space, you delineate that it’s for us, the community. And then it’s like, ‘What are you going to do with it?’ And then people come up with all sorts of stuff. Even in an area so difficult as ours. Churches want to come out. Everyone has an idea. And so leveling the playing field and saying ‘we’re open to all ideas.’ We’ve never had big budget. Partnerships are how to move public space forward.”
Carey King, Uptown Grand Central

The Bindlestiff Family Circus performs on a flatbed trailer parked on a city street.