Organization Name
Velo City
About Us
Velo City’s mission is to use bicycling to introduce youth from under-served communities to urban planning and design concepts and community-involvement projects. The objective is to provide an opportunity for these youth to consider careers in fields such as urban planning and design, landscape architecture, and architecture. In the summer 2010 we ran a pilot program called Bikesplorations, a 7- week program for high school students. The program allowed students to explore their community while bicycling and to design and lead a community bike tour. Additionally, we have partnered with community organizations to facilitate after-school programs that focus on physical activity, the built environment, and active transportation. Since 2010 we have worked with 40 teens in NYC. For elementary students, we host workshops where kids get to be junior planners and designers for the day and re-imagine spaces. We have worked with 60 students in our workshops.
We Participate Because
Velo City believes that solutions to livability and equity issues in low-income communities in New York must be as diverse as populations living in these communities. About two-thirds of New York City residents are minorities. About one in ten urban planners nationwide is a minority. Both urban planners and designers alike are influenced by their own personal experiences and backgrounds. Therefore, for new planning and design solutions there needs to be greater diversity amongst urban planning and design professionals both in terms of gender, age, class, and ethnicity. Physical inactivity and unhealthy diet are second only to tobacco as the main causes of premature death in the US. We see that New York City’s low-income communities are most adversely affected. The obesity rate among low-income preschoolers in Brooklyn is 13%. How does the design of streets and sidewalks or land use relate to the rate of diabetes or asthma in a neighborhood? We will make these connections and our teens will explore possible design interventions. For this program, our focus will be on the NYC District Public Health Office catchment areas of the North and Central Brooklyn and the South Bronx, communities that stand to benefit most from active design and transportation interventions. Velo City wants to empower communities by training local teens to influence and speak about the changes to the built environment that are taking place in their community whether those changes are a new bike lane, a new commercial development, or changes to public transportation.