Rosa Chang

Building a park under the Brooklyn Bridge, one block at a time

Black and white image of Rosa Chang
Gotham Park
Placemaking & Neighborhoods
Black and white image of Rosa Chang

When Rosa Chang first stumbled on the 9 acres of long-forgotten land stretching from City Hall to the East River under Manhattan’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge - she saw the answer to so many community problems, in a neighborhood with only 20% of the existing city median of open space, classified as an Environmental Justice Area and Historically Disadvantaged Community.  Underneath the Brooklyn Bridge she imagined a public space that would become a community hub, bringing together and supporting the neighborhoods that ringed the Bridge, rather than letting it continue to divide them. A series of rejections - from DOT, from Parks, only made her dig deeper, dream bigger and strategize on how to convert potential into reality.  She formed a grassroots nonprofit that since 2021, has built momentum for a new kind of hyper-urban public space that celebrates the unique energy of New York City - Gotham Park.

Rosa’s vision is a 9-acre park connecting 5 diverse communities, with the goal of creating Joy, Discovery and Wonder.  She has built social and political capital for the vision - community, city agencies, and politicians. In a city where infrastructure park projects are counted in decades, she will have opened 3 acres in 3 years.  Because after people have built spaces, those spaces build people, so the quality of spaces we build matters deeply.  From vision to reality - block by block.