The "selling to developers!" framing suggests that these developers would build for-profit "luxury" housing on these parking lots in between the projects, but if you read deeper, it's quite a bit less sensational. The article says that since 2013 the Housing Authority "has sold vacant or what it deems 'underutilized' land to developers to build affordable or senior housing." The News asked the NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye about future sales, and she said that they would be announced in May, "promising to sell land exclusively for affordable housing and spreading the projects across the boroughs."
News reporter Greg B. Smith was even unable to frame the article as "Community protests city initiative," because a lot of residents supported the plan: "Some tenants are angry that the limited open space they enjoy will soon be displaced by towers of apartments. Others are ecstatic, hoping much-needed senior housing will rise on what they see as wasted space."
Okay, so it's not really "NYCHA selling off green space to developers!" Instead, NYCHA may sell some parking lots and maybe an occasional ball field or "leafy triangle" to people who want to build low-income housing, and a lot of people who live in the projects can't wait for it to happen. Oh, the scandal! But there's more.
How often do you see project residents actually hanging out in the "green space"? Usually they're on the edges of the project where they can interact with the rest of the world, the world that doesn't feel welcome in their green spaces.
One of the most hilarious things for me was seeing this posted by certain people who like to invoke Jane Jacobs, because Jacobs absolutely hated the "green space" in the projects. Over and over in The Death and Life of Great American Cities she lambasts the projects for their despotic design, and contrasts their failure to the success of human-scaled, organic streets. Here is a quote from Page 90 (with an unfortunate comparison to "savages") about the general uncritical love of what was then called "open space":
In orthodox city planning, neighborhood open spaces are venerated in an amazingly uncritical fashion, much as savages venerate magical fetishes. Ask a houser how his planned neighborhood improves on the old city and he will cite, as a self-evident virtue, More Open Space. Ask a zoner about the improvements in progressive codes and he will cite, again as a self-evident virtue, their incentives toward leaving More Open Space. Walk with a planner through a dispirited neighborhood and though it be already scabby with deserted parks and tired landscaping festooned with an old Kleenex, he will envision a future of More Open Space.
More Open Space for what? For muggings? For bleak vacuums between buildings? Or for ordinary people to use and enjoy? But people do not use city open space just because it is there and because city planners wish they would.
And here is a quote from Page 15 specifically about open space in NYCHA projects:
In New York's East Harlem there is a housing project with a conspicuous rectangular lawn which became an object of hatred to the project tenants. A social worker frequently at the project was astonished by how often the subject of the lawn came up, usually gratuitously as far as she could see, and how much the tenants despised it and urged that it be done away with. When she asked why, the usual answer was, "What good is it?" or "Who wants it? "Finally one day a tenant more articulate than the others made this pronouncement: "Nobody cared what we wanted when they built this place. They threw our houses down and pushed us here and pushed our friends somewhere else. We don't have a place around here to get a cup of coffee or a newspaper even, or borrow fifty cents. Nobody cared what we need. But the big men come and look at that grass and say, 'Isn't it wonderful! Now the poor have everything!'"
Yes, the poor have everything, including "green space." But they don't want it, the silly things. They want places where they can live when get old, so they don't have to move too far away from their families and friends. And the city may "quietly sell off" some land to developers so they can build that senior housing. Oh, the scandal!