The purpose of the meeting is to bring local residents, business owners, and manufacturers together for a true democratic discussion on the future of Gowanus. The goal of "Take Back Gowanus" is to create a manifesto of what the community wants to see in the neighborhood they live and work in.
The year-long process was touted as a real chance for community stakeholders to jointly shape a vision for the future of the neighborhood.
In reality, the "Bridging Gowanus" community meetings have been highly curated affairs, seemingly designed to divide stakeholders at small group tables, making a more inclusionary discussion impossible. Facilitators at each table stuck to rigid scripts that seemed expressly designed to get specific comments and a pre-determined outcome.
That outcome likely will involve changing the zoning of much of the area from manufacturing to mixed-use which will allow developers to build more housing along the Gowanus Canal.
"Take Back Gowanus", on the other hand, will allow the community to engage in a real, honest conversation and to demand a real collaboration between our community and the City of New York.
Please join your neighbors this Wednesday and let's show our elected officials what democracy really looks like.