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BY Aline Reynolds
Heather Anderson is finishing up her New York City Community Planning Fellows Internship at Community Board 1 this month. She helped create C.B. 1’s affordable housing guide, among other noteworthy endeavors.
What are the top two most research-worthy issues Downtown?
The big issue for development is population growth, and whether there has been sufficient infrastructure to go along with that. One project that has been on the priority list is [creating] a community facilities and amenities inventory, with the idea that we can figure out a way of doing an analysis on what facilities, services and amenities are here to serve the community that lives here.
What did you get out of the C.B. 1 urban fellowship program?
The number one thing I got out of the program is understanding community access to participating in government process – decision-making, basically. Working with Community Board 1 has been an amazing experience. It has made me understand the political capital that communities have and can access.
Would you recommend the program to others? Why or why not?Yes, I would. I think the learning opportunities for hands-on experience here are great. Community Board 1 members are very mobilized, and it’s been amazing to be a part of the team.
How will the affordable housing guide be a useful resource for the community? What are a few key takeaways of the guide?
This guide is a means of preservation. It’s a means of people being aware of the affordable housing stock that should be available here. It’s also a way of not only making sure there is enforcement of the rules by agencies and management companies, but understanding when the [affordable housing] units expire.
Where did you go for lunch in the Financial District?
I’ve become a regular at Blue Spoon Coffee Company on Chambers Street. Mostly, I’ve been getting soup, ‘cause it was such a long winter.
You have one year left at Columbia University’s Master of Science in urban planning. What are your career aspirations upon graduation?
I’m particularly interested in housing — in general, I’m interested in access to public services and public facilities, and access to public, open space. Upon leaving school, I’d like to pursue a job for a government agency or a nonprofit or public corporation — probably leaning towards the former.
Do you have plans for the summer?
I’ll be a part-time assistant for a professor at Columbia, researching comparative housing policies in the United States and Brazil. I’m really excited about it!