Diversity in the City: Wendy Lopez

As a Black, Master of Urban Planning student at Hunter College, I am interested in the specific ways that people of color experience cities and how planning intersects with race and gender. I’m also interested in exploring ways that vulnerable populations can be actors in creating more sustainable communities rather than being objects of sustainability research and planning.

This series of interviews with New Yorkers of color seeks to both explore these issues and to capture personal narratives of individual experiences related to community equity and sustainability.

Name: Wendy Lopez

Neighborhood: Bronx Park East

Occupation: Nutrition student

My Hood

Why do you live there? I live where I live because I was raised there, the entire community knows my family, and it’s home for us.

What makes your hood dope? There’s a wide range of diverse cultures from all over the world that aren’t isolated into different circles. We all interact, share, and learn from one another.

What makes it wack? There’s not many recreational activities, there’s a lack of access to affordable and healthy food, and the commute to other parts of NYC is super long.

Do you feel safe there? Yes and no. Yes because I know the area and the people very well, and no because as a woman, it’s not safe to be anywhere late at night, and that’s a huge issue for me when I go out late nights and have to take the long train ride back home and walk down the dark path.

Do you ride a bike? No because in the Bronx, there are no lanes designed for bike riding, and it’s also super hilly, which is not ideal for riding bikes

My Food

Does your neighborhood have a supermarket in walking distance? Yes

If so, does it have fresh produce? No

If not, how do you get fresh produce? Taking a long ass trek to the city

How many bodegas are in walking distance from where you live? 6

Does your bodega offer fresh produce? No

Do you even like fresh produce?! YES!

How many fast food restaurants are in walking distance from where you live? 10

How many liquor stores are in walking distance from where you live? 3

My Community

What does your community look like? Colorful, loud, happy, with not much jobs or money, closed in, and sometimes dark.

What would your ideal open space include/consist of/look like? Lots of trees, walking paths, biking paths, construction built for children and daily activities for all community members.

Do you consider your community gentrified? No because there isn’t a new wave of people coming in raising the property value of things.

Does gentrification matter to you? It does because with gentrification comes the ousting of community members that have been living in their homes all their lives. It involves being forced to leave a whole history and culture behind because you can no longer afford to pay the increased rent and cost of local living because of the new settlers.

My Green

What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability is the ability to provide for yourself and those around you in a way that is fulfilling, non-wasteful, and effective when thinking short and long term.

Would you consider yourself “green”? Yes because I make conscious and active efforts to not only green up my body, but also green up our Earth. How so? Well, by eating and promoting local organic foods, I am not only maintaining a body in tune with the Earth, I am also reducing carbon foot print, promoting local economy, among the many other great things that come with awesome nutrition.

Do you recycle? Yes I do in hopes that it really does help reduce waste on Earth, but to be honest with you, I’m not sure how strict my building is with being on top of it.

Do you compost? Why or why not? No, my apartment is really small and I don’t feel like squishing it in there.

Why would anyone want to have a garden? To grow their own food (sustainability remember?), to teach others how to grow their own food, because it’s fun seeing the development of plants and trees, and because the food tastes better from one’s garden because you really put love into growing your own stuff.

Come back on March 28 for the next installation!

If you would like to be profiled in “Diversity in the City”, send an email to: mopierre@hunter.cuny.edu.

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