The Clean Air Green Corridor (CAGC) is a Youth-led initiative empowering Young people to reimagine how we transform our built environment so that it may inform bold solutions to environmental and climate injustice in Washington Heights and beyond. Inspired by an elective course two years ago, our vision for the CAGC is to transform 182nd street from Amsterdam Ave to Broadway by providing 1,000s from our community with access to Highbridge Park, an often overlooked and underutilized, but nonetheless, essential ribbon of green space on the perimeter of our neighborhood. CAGC will serve as a link to this ‘Anchor Park’ currently riddled with homeless encampments and individuals struggling with opioid addiction. Along our envisioned Corridor, trees and plants will purify the air, provide shade, and combat the effects of an urban heat island. There are five other schools, besides our own, that we hope will join us to help form this passageway to our local park.
Corridor Student and Teacher Founders, at the Highbridge Grand Staircase undergoing a $5M renovation by NYC. October 2019. Photographer Molly Delano
- Restored and re-designed both of WHEELS School Gardens
- Purchased tree guards for 17 tree pits on 182nd
- Core youth leaders presented at community board meetings, conferences and protests
- Secured $165k to date and hired full time Project Manager
- Engaged 150+ WHEELS students to develop big picture vision for the future of the Corridor
- Developed partnerships with 15+ organizations in the community
- Created an “indoor Corridor” with 50 plants in classrooms
- Installed air monitors in two classrooms and outside WHEELS
WHEELS students in the Clean Air Green Corridor Intensive Study plant mulch throughout gardens and tree pits, Winter, 2020
Priorities for 2021
- Support Youth Leaders to develop leadership skills, including community outreach and engagement, public speaking, facilitation, campaign development, advocacy, and organizing.
- Support Youth Leaders to collaborate with community partners to continue to build the Corridor. Ideas include: creating an Open Street on 182nd & bringing more structures like benches, planters, mural paintings, as well as developing and lead community programing.
- Support Youth Leaders to build our social media presence so people in the community know who we are and what we about
Students participating in FOW Environmental Justice Leadership Summer Institute develop renderings of the Clean Air Green Corridor in partnership with Columbia University’s School of Architecture’s Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes.
Victor Lo Graduate Candidate in Columbia University’s Architecture and Urban Design Program collaborated with students from WHEELS Class of 2021 to develop a rendering of a community visioning process taking place in front of the school building.
Op-ed Written by the Student founders of the CAGC - https://www.harlemworldmagazine.com/oped-in-new-year-and-new-decade-wahi-students-share-vision-for-climate-justice/