Ecologies of Transition Roundtable: Hydrological Ties that Bind—Gowanus and Red Hook

In the low-lying coastal region of New York City, we are never more than a few miles away from the waterfront. Along the edges of Brooklyn’s coastlines, neighborhoods are being rezoned, flooded, and dredged. Red Hook and Gowanus share a water source, a sewershed, and gaps in policy that should protect the land and its inhabitants. Working together as civic, cultural, and ecological bodies who live, work, and play near the Gowanus Canal and on the Red Hook waterfront, can we recreate an integrated neighborhood plan? Can we build resilience in times of sea level rise, erratic precipitation, and overflowing sewer systems? Join us in this roundtable to hear from the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and Resilient Red Hook about current issues and planning in each neighborhood, and to collaborate on identifying advocacy issues that will help shape a Green New Deal that includes us all.

About the Ecologies of Transition Roundtable series:
How can we change our thinking and actions to acknowledge and work with ecological life cycles? The Ecologies of Transition Roundtable is a space for discussing how ecological long-term thinking can be applied to design and daily life. The series will be grounded in sharing and reflecting on methods for noticing how humans and natural matter shape urban ecology. The sessions this fall will feature activists, designers, and artists engaged in regenerative ecological practices: capturing carbon in soil, turning organic waste into compost, and maintaining waterways to accommodate rising tides.

Marisa Prefer is an educator, urban ecologist, and herbalist who works across disciplines to translate knowledge between plant and human communities. Prefer is the Landscape Steward at Pioneer Works, and collaborates with artists to facilitate projects about regenerative ecology, food, and public space. Find out more at

Gowanus Canal Conservancy is dedicated to facilitating the development of a resilient, vibrant, open space network centered on the Gowanus Canal through activating and empowering community stewardship of the Gowanus Watershed. Since 2006, we have served as the environmental steward for the neighborhood through leading grassroots volunteer projects; educating students on environmental issues; and working with agencies, elected officials, and the community to advocate for, build, and maintain innovative green infrastructure around the Gowanus Canal.

Empowered by the spirit of unity that helped the community survive Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy, Resilient Red Hook has a vision for a thriving future by minimizing differences and maximizing cooperation among all who live and work in the neighborhood. Mindful of the growing climate-related risks and the immediate need for improved emergency preparedness measures, RRH focuses on actions that serve to help develop measures for protecting Red Hook from flood inundation, increasing the safety of its citizens, and moving towards a resilient community. Resilient Red Hook is committed to maintaining and expanding affordable housing, environmental justice, and increased economic activity with an emphasis on local job development, recognizing the importance of their interdependence in Red Hook.Find out more at


Please note, this roundtable session is held on our third floor. At this time, we do not have an elevator. Please email with any questions or concerns regarding accessibility.