Walk along the East River’s edge in Brooklyn, New York’s Greenpoint/Williamsburg district, and Manhattan’s picture perfect skyline seems just out of reach. Turn around, and you could be in another country. Here, Spanish, Polish and Yiddish are commonly spoken and store signs are often in a language other than English. Greenpoint/Wil-liamsburg is a working class neighbourhood, with large pockets of poverty; home to many recent immigrants. According to the 1990 census, the district has a residential population of 155,000 and an average annual household income of $ 18,900. This area, designated Brooklyn Community Board #1 by City government, is unified in name, but is not often unified across neighbourhood or ethnic lines. However, enforced coexistence with an exceptional number of factories and municipal facilities, and concerns over industrial pollution, have combined to coalesce the community and create a groundswell of demand for change in the way government plans how urban districts are developed and how environmental protection is realised.