Public Space Equity Program

Public Space Equity Program

The Public Space Equity Program (PSEP) addresses the needs of public spaces in under-resourced neighborhoods where community-based partner organizations need support in maintaining a high-quality public space. To achieve the goal of equitable public space throughout the City, PSEP provides operational and maintenance services, horticultural care, financial subsides, programming, and a host of technical assistance tools to public space partner organizations citywide.

NYC DOT distributes these resources to partners in Open Streets, plazas, and other public spaces through a formula that considers partner capacity, site context, and equity goals set forth by the agency.

Operations and Management: The Hort

As a signature PSEP partner, the Horticultural Society of New York (the Hort) currently provides maintenance, operations, and horticultural care at 30 plazas, 25 Open Streets, and other public spaces in underserved communities across the city. Through their contract with NYC DOT, those resources will be expanded to 100 public spaces in under-served neighborhoods to ensure all New Yorkers have better access to high quality and vibrant public spaces.

Two people wearing neon vests place barriers to prevent vehicles from entering an Open Street. A person plants new flowers in a public space.
Photo credit: The Hort

The Hort will also provide technical assistance to community partners, which includes permitting and administrative support, community outreach, promotion, fundraising, grant writing, partner-networking, trainings, and more.

A colorful asphalt mural on a public plaza, where people are sitting on tables and chairs A group of people meet at a restaurant to network.

Piloting New Public Spaces: Street Lab

Through a partnership with Street Lab, PSEP additionally works with grassroots groups, schools, and other community-based organizations to pilot and establish new Open Streets, providing immediate benefits to communities in need while also laying the groundwork for permanent changes to the public realm that will enhance safety and well-being in these neighborhoods.

On a street closed to vehicular traffic multiple children play with magnatiles on table, behind them other children color the roadway with chalk. Multiple children hula hoop on a street closed to vehicular traffic.
Photo credit: Street Lab