Rebuilding Green After Sandy: A Sustainable Pilot Project in the Rockaways

Posted by Winnie Wong

A week before the arrival of superstorm Sandy, YANA, a community center and worker training facility in the neighborhood of Rockaway Park, opened its doors with the mission of bringing jobs, education and environmentally sustainable practices to a region already hurting from economic marginalization. More specifically, YANA hoped to implement green jobs training: Solar installation, LEED certification, non-toxic paint interiors, etc. Then along came the Hurricane.

Immediately after the neighborhood was devastated by flooding and fire, YANA reopened its doors with the support of Occupy Sandy volunteers and solar power provided by Greenpeace, and became a hub of community recovery, mutual aid, and solidarity.



YANA, which stands for You Are Never Alone, has fulfilled its intended purpose of building community through its storm relief efforts, distributing donations, serving hot meals, providing free medical care and dispatching volunteers throughout the Rockaways.

 Now it's time to help YANA get back on its feet to ensure that they are able to continue doing this important work, in the much-needed Rockaways community. This restoration project will be divided into manageable phases, with this particular crowdfunding campaign raising capital for first phase, as described below.

Video by Josh Fox

The immediate need is to reconstruct the 800 square foot interior and floor of the main building which was severely damaged by flooding.
 
A bio-remediation for the treatment of mold will be activated immediately. Next, we will lay down a concrete floor to secure the foundation and structure of the building. We'll also add an additional layer of flooring utilizing copper pennies. This is a sustainable design technique that helps to offset energy usage. Copper retains heat, and this simple technique is a first step toward consumption efficiency.



The YANA rebuild process will be a living example of sustainable and ethical design. A team of permaculture design solutionists, along with organizers of Occupy Sandy will work with community members and volunteers. Highlights of what to expect include: the use of both passive and active solar energy, a green roof which will produce food, a water catchment system, and the use of re-purposed building material. Upon completion of the rebuild, YANA will return to it's intended mission of providing re-skilling to people who need it. Only it'll go above and beyond learning how to install a photovoltaic panel on a roof.

We hope to be able to teach people about everything from worm composting to vertical gardening. Think of it as a 3rd Ward for non-hipsters.



Click here to add helping rebuild this sustainable pilot project in the Rockaways to your GOOD "to-do" list.