Diversity in the City: Shantay Armstrong

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: Shantay Armstrong
Neighborhood: Flatbush, Brooklyn
What do you do: Parent Coach @ Harlem Children’s Zone; Writer

My Green
What the heck does sustainability mean? I’m not sure actually, I think being able to live healthy and happy. Yes I do care if that’s what it means.

Would you consider yourself “green”? Yes, we have compost in our apt. and recycle and care about the earth because we and the earth are reflections of one another; when one lives, the other lives.

What do you do with your plastic bags? Save them – use them for garbage bags.

Do you recycle? Yes because I love my Mother Earth and am against useless waste.

Why would anyone want to have a garden? To grow one’s own organic fruits and veggies, to be satisfied by touching Mother Nature and giving back to land, to receive the blessings of the land, to become more grounded, to profit by selling organic foods that help other’s thrive.
Are bike lanes important to you? Why or why not? I think bike lanes are a good idea but I don’t particularly need them since I don’t ride a bike or drive

My Community
What makes your hood dope? Its full of Caribbean Americans and fresh produce and Caribbean food.

What makes it wack? Poverty, fast food, cops

What would your ideal open space include/consist of/look like? I love Prospect Park, but I’d love

to live by open plains or a farm

What does your community look like? Mostly apartment buildings being gentrified, bodegas, 2 main avenues with stores and supermarkets and grocery stores

Do you consider your community gentrified? Yes, and its in

the process of being gentrified. Gentrification began in Flatbush about 8 years ago. Growing up here it was all Black people, now it’s very diverse, stores have closed down, rents are changing, stored carry (some) different items, white people walk their dogs, but Caribbean Americans still account for maybe about half of the population. It’s changing.

Who are the gentrifiers? What are the signs of gentrification? Class, race, white families, mixed race families, young people, dogs being walked.

Does gentrification matter to you? Yes, I can’t stand gentrification. It’s disrespectful and a micro form of colonization.

Come back on May 2 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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