John J. Lynch AICP
John J. Lynch AICP
John J. Lynch AICP John J. Lynch AICP

SEQRA & NEPA IMPACT / ECONOMICS / FISCAL / PERMITTING / PLANNING

►Diligent, competent, fair-minded service, attention to detail, time and budgetary commitments and a versatile skill set have been hallmarks of over 25 years in the planning profession.  

 

  • A wide range of environmental, land use planning, permitting, environmental and development advisory services.  
  • Learn more about the practice in the Resume, and Services and Projects pages.
  • NYC, Westchester, Hudson Valley, Long Island and New Jersey

 

►Since 1987.

 

►Take a look at the list of municipal and private-sector clients on the Clients and Municipalities page. 

 

►Whether you are an attorney, architect or engineer, consultant or consulting firm, municipal official, developer or development professional, call us to discuss how we can help you reach your goals.

Services

environmental planners

►Can we do any of the following for you, your organization or agency?  

 

We can:

  • Work with applicants, property-owners, municipal officials, review boards & government agencies to address development issues. 
  • Prepare and review environmental and regulatory documents.
  • Perform reliable fiscal and economic analyses.
  • Coordinate the activities of other professionals.
  • Work with regulatory agencies to obtain permits and licenses, and changes to resource mapping.
  • Provide thoughtful, informative guidance for planning and development projects.  Focus efforts and make efficient use of limited resources. Develop thoughts and vet ideas.  Understand and articulate competing viewpoints.
  • Meet your time and budgetary commitments. 
  • Reduce the time needed to become familiar with NYS's new SEQRA forms.
  • Advocate for good planning, sound development, a greater range of options for current and future generations, and conservation of land and energy.
  • Evaluate a proposal or a plan.  
  • Identify needs, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats.  
  • Research, organize, evaluate and present complex information.

 

►For agency clients specifically, we can:

  • Assist with grant applications and administration
  • Work with and back up staff for planning & zoning administration
  • Free up staff time for other tasks
  • Organize and manage information and department activities
  • Review environmental documents such as EISs
  • Draft ordinances and code amendments
  • Preare, edit and revise policy documents
  • Prepare background studies and opportunities analyses
  • Meet with applicants and citizen committees
  • Work effectively with municipal staff and other consulting professionals
  • Mediate the interests of applicants, municipal and agency departments and staff, and board members
  • Develop the record for projects under review to support prudent, timely and substantiated decision-making.  

 

►Want to see what else we can do for you? Detailed information is in the Statement of Qualifications below.  See the Services and Projects pages for information on specific services and projects.  

 

►A quick snapshot of John Lynch's core competencies is provided in the skills-oriented resume below.  See the resume web-page for other resumes and additional information.  

Skills and Experience
John Lynch AICP Skills Resume.docx
Microsoft Word document [22.8 KB]
Statement of Qualifications
J Lynch Statement of Qualifications, Jul[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [2.4 MB]
View John Lynch's profile on LinkedIn

See below and the Interesting Ideas page for blogs, ideas and things that I like.

INRIX Traffic Scorecard

Scenic Hudson's Sea Level Rise Mapper

"Bronx Irish at the Ramparts", 1984 documentary about changing northwest Bronx

PBS's "Visions of New York City"

NYC Channel 7 Eyewitness News Special: Climate Chaos

US Green Building Council -- Neighborhood Development Resources

Westchester County, New York Mapping / GIS Resources

NYS DEC Online Interactive Mapping

Look up your family in a 1940's phone book or just see pictures of the old neighborhood.   

Check out www.1940snewyork.com/

PlannersWeb web-site

City Limits

City Limits is a New York City-based non-profit that strengthens community engagement on civic, economic, and social justice issues. Since 1976, we’ve fulfilled our mission by publishing investigative journalism, documentary photography, creating new media and convening conversations that increase public awareness.  

Real Estate - Crain's New York Business News Feed

Port Authority drives toward on-ramp to reform (Sun, 20 Apr 2014)
After a long, cold winter, a thaw appears to finally be afoot at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Some of the embattled bistate agency's most formidable watchdogs were invited to the... To view the full story, click the title link.
>> Read more

Real estate boom bites nonprofits (Sun, 20 Apr 2014)
Time is running out for the Touro College and University System. It has just three months to find 300,000 square feet of affordable space in Manhattan so it can keep its campus together. The odds... To view the full story, click the title link.
>> Read more

Officials 'air' their plan differences (Sun, 20 Apr 2014)
When de Blasio administration officials met at City Hall recently to hear a pitch about spurring development in a city where affordable, vacant land is scarce, two top mayoral aides were in their... To view the full story, click the title link.
>> Read more

Doormen pact signals bigger union payouts (Sun, 20 Apr 2014)
The economic and political winds have suddenly shifted dramatically in favor of the city’s municipal unions. The beneficiaries will be New York’s workforce, and the costs will be borne by... To view the full story, click the title link.
>> Read more

Planitizen Web-Feed (Planning Related Articles Culled from the Web and Print Media)

http://eepurl.com/By7Ar

GOOD is the integrated media platform for people who want to live well and do good. We are a company and community for the people, businesses, and NGOs moving the world forward.

GOOD

Awesome Member of the Week: Amanda Fung Engages in Conversations About Business, Charity, and Global Development (Wed, 16 Apr 2014)
  GOOD is featuring interviews of devoted members each week on good.is. Amanda Fung is an aspiring changemaker and founder of the blog beyondbeadsandbaskets.com. Best advice I've ever gotten The best advice I ever received came in the form of a question: "Do you feel you are fulfilling your potential?" This question made me really evaluate whether I had been making the most of my life. At any given time, we each have a unique combination of knowledge, skills, experiences, education, resources, network of influence, and opportunities, in addition to passions and interests. If we want to help solve the world's greatest problems or even just make our lives count for something, we have to honestly ask ourselves whether we're making the most of what we've got and, if not, what we can be doing differently. One of the greatest things about potential is that it's not fixed. Every new day and every new experience stretches us or exposes us to something/someone new. You can fulfill your potential one day, but the next day have a new level of potential to fulfill. The key is choosing to be humble and teachable, denying comfortable ignorance or undue arrogance in favor of the unlimited possibilities that come with learning, growing and collaborating. It's a daily choice to make our lives count and it requires a daily commitment to fulfill our [new] potential.  Worst advice I've ever gotten "Stop being yourself. It intimidates others." Okay, so maybe it wasn't spoken in those exact words, but that's the message that I and many others I know have heard in various forms over the years. I'm not sure whether it's meant to be some kind of backwards compliment, but I do know that it has come across as discouraging to many a passionate, talented, smart, or successful individual. I've always found that greatness, in any form, tends to produce two reactions: 1) intimidation and insecurity, or 2) appreciation and inspiration.  Choose to practice the latter reaction when you encounter someone spectacular and try not to let others' insecurities keep you from letting out whatever greatness has been instilled in you. After all, your best self is what will serve society best.  Book I'd recommend "The Penguin and the Leviathan: How Cooperation Triumphs over Self-Interest" by Yochai Benkler A 'Do' I want to share with the world Do something that offers compassion to families who lost loved ones on MH370 instead of treating the story like a soap opera. My hero My dad. My dad must be one of the most brilliant, hard-working, generous men I know. He has overcome tremendous obstacles and has achieved so much.  He has shown me that it is entirely possible to have a successful, profitable business that operates responsibly, ethically and with integrity.  He taught me how to honour, respect, appreciate and invest in people who are different from me.  Without knowing it, his work on various boards and various projects has inspired much of my interest in social good. My favorite teacher Mr. Weber was my grade seventh math teacher. He saw potential in me that was beyond my capacity at the time and quite simply went after it. In a matter of weeks, I was applying grade 10 math concepts, in addition to keeping up with my regular homework. But more valuable than the math skills he taught me was the confidence he instilled in me to believe that I could do far more than I may have otherwise thought possible. My manifesto Make the most of what you've been given.  Why you should care about Syria Syria's civil war has been ongoing for over three years now. Millions have been internally displaced, millions have fled to neighbouring countries and over 100,000 are said to have been killed. While the media has largely stopped reporting on the story, many continue to suffer. Despite UN peace talks, there is no clear end in sight. So why should you care? I wrote about this in more detail here. My biggest goal for 2014 Relocate to Rwanda and continue inspiring social good by posting regularly on my blog beyondbeadsandbaskets.com and engaging people in conversations about business, charity and development.
>> Read more

Internet for All: Why Google and Facebook Just Bought Drone Companies (Wed, 16 Apr 2014)
Google acquired Titan Aerospace this week, a New Mexico startup that builds solar-powered drones that can stay aloft for years at a time. The purchase comes a month after Facebook acquired a drone company of its own, the UK-based Ascenta. It seems tech giants are expanding into the skies. The incentive? According to Facebook, 10 to 20 percent of the world's population lacks access to 2G or 3G networks. To internet companies, they are an untapped market. Google and Facebook, flush with the type of intellectual and financial resources small nations could only dream of, have set out to bring that percentage down. Last June, Google launched "Project Loon," a proposed network of hot air balloons that will ride wind patterns in the stratosphere, and would be equipped with antennas that broadcast connectivity to the ground. Google tested Loon balloons last summer in New Zealand and continues to refine the technology in California's Central Valley. That project's goals mirror those of Facebook's new "Connectivity Lab," announced after its Ascenta acquisition last month. The lab aims to develop technologies to "bring internet access to everyone in the world." To this segment of corporate techno-science, drones are the next frontier. The type of 65,000-feet-high, autonomous broadband network teased by both companies has proved out of reach, but unmanned aircraft with the amount of airtime flaunted by the startups Facebook and Google scooped up could be the missing link. Titan Aerospace employees will contribute to Project Loon, according to the Wall Street Journal. Likewise, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a status announcing that Ascenta's employees will join Facebook's Connectivity Lab. The more important question: Will developing nations actually benefit? Zuckerberg laid out his rather broad philosophy last month in a paper that introduced the Connectivity Lab: "When people have access to the internet, they can not only connect with their friends, family and communities, but they can also gain access to the tools and information to help find jobs, start businesses, access healthcare, education and financial services, and have a greater say in their societies. They get to participate in the knowledge economy. Building the knowledge economy is the key to solving many of our big social and economic challenges, and creates new growth and opportunities for people in every country." Recent studies support the notion that internet access boosts development, if on more specific terms than those laid out by Zuckerberg. Last November, the consulting firm McKinsey predicted that if the internet reached the same scale and impact in Africa as mobile phones have, it could contribute $300 million to the continent's GDP by 2025. A Brookings Institute paper published this February argued that the internet is a key tool in opening developing countries to international trade. There is also the argument, brought to the top of the news cycle this month by USAID's failed "Cuban Twitter" scheme, that increased internet access improves free speech. A February Pew survey of 24 nations that lack majority access to the internet comments on this idea. In 21 of 24 nations surveyed, a majority of internet users participate in social media. And while the most popular topics of conversation are music and movies, at least six-in-ten social media users in Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Jordan say they share their political views online. In any case, Google's and Facebook's investments prove Silicon Valley's continued commitment to expand global internet access. Drones are but the latest tool.
>> Read more

Your Neighborday Toolkit Is Here (Tue, 15 Apr 2014)
Too often, we are disconnected from the people who are just a stone’s throw away. It was in this spirit that we at GOOD created Neighborday, a new global holiday of local happenings. Last year, thousands of you answered our challenge to strengthen your relationships with those who share your walls and/or fences. As we look toward this year’s event, we’ve decided to offer a few helpful starter ideas on how to celebrate for you newbies out there.   Regardless of what you think of the people living in your neighborhood, we hope you can find something useful among these following resources that will add value to your Neighborday participation. Check out the added materials, including nametags and an official "This is a GOOD Neighborhood" poster. This Neighborday, maybe aim to simply break the ice with those people living in your immediate proximity. Print out one of these suckers, fill it out and slip it under the door of a neighbor who you barely know. Then head for the hills. We’re pretty sure you won’t end up with a restraining order and you might even make that awkward interaction in the elevator each morning a little less awkward.   Down with the cause, but simply stretched too thin to throw a balls-out block party? Celebrate Neighborday through modest means and streamline your life in the process. Create a phone tree among your neighbors, print and then distribute. You’ll immediately sense an increased interconnectedness without feeling like you’re lost in Mr. Rogers’ land of make believe. Plus, you never know when having that name and number in your phone will come in handy.   If forging ties with those who live nearby is the cherry on top of your existential ice cream sundae, then have we got a neighboring assignment for you. Host a Neighborday party with these added nametags. Print out an official "This is a GOOD Neighborhood" poster, you Neighboring Nut, and prove to all of those around you why neighboring is all it’s cracked up to be. If you like being the center of attention, put on an apron and chef’s hat and orchestrate a backyard barbeque. If you’re OCD about spring cleaning, maybe try coordinating an everybody-on-the-block yard or stoop sale. If you’re a neat freak, purchase some industrial-strength garbage bags and wrangle your neighbors for a quick street cleanup.   So you’re a big-shot social innovator. Well, anyone can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? Bring your game to neighboring. Porchfest, movie night? Roving dinner party? Barnraising? Guerrilla garden planting? You’re the one with the big ideas, come up with a collaborative activity to improve your neighborhood with your neighbors and set in motion on Neighborday. Email community@goodinc.com with your plans and send us pics or video! Neighborday is a new idea, and it needs your help to bring it to life. So however big or small you end up going with your neighboring plans, here’s a few last things to keep in mind: 1. Please go here and click the green To Do button to add yourself to growing group of founding mothers and fathers of this new holiday. By doing so you’ll also get helpful tips and reminders along the way. 2. Help us document what Neighborday looks like, feels like and sounds like to set the example for years to come. Tweet and Instagram with #neighborday so we can see how you built your community on April 26. 3. Spread the word. Tell your friends and family near and far that April 26 is Neighborday.
>> Read more

Oil and Greed: An Interview With Big Men Director Rachel Boynton (Mon, 14 Apr 2014)
Rachel Boynton never meant to make a film in Ghana. When the documentary filmmaker started making trips to Africa, her flights landed in Lagos. She wanted to investigate why underserved Nigerian citizens were resorting to militant attacks on federally maintained pipelines to demand more of the country's oil revenue be spent on its people. But when upstart Texas oil company Kosmos Energy discovered the first major oil field off the coast of Ghana, and invited Boynton along to film their negotiations with the country's government, it set in motion the story that forms the backbone of Big Men -- a scathing, intimate look at the cross-cultural clash and universal greed that infects the world's most valuable resource. The film is a triumph of access that goes behind the closed doors of an SEC investigation, deep into the swamps with Niger Delta militants, and on the campaign trail during Ghana's 2008 presidential election. On the front lines of a billion dollar industry, Boynton tells the brittle and complex human stories at each level of the chain, from impoverished natives to the private equity firms bankrolling it all. Big Men is screening through May in Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, and Lincoln. GOOD spoke with Boynton about what it means to be a "Big Man," the role of a documentarian, and what lies ahead for Ghana's future as it tries to resist the resource curse. How did you first become interested in the West African oil business? Well, I wasn't interested in the West African oil business. I started because, back when I finished my last film, I made this film called Our Brand is Crisis, which was about a group of American political consultants, including James Carville, who went to Bolivia and ran a presidential campaign. So I finished that film in 2005, and it had its theatrical release in 2006. That was when I started thinking about my next film and where I wanted to focus my efforts. At the time, the price of oil was in the news literally every 30 seconds. You turned on the radio, you turned on CNN, it was everywhere. Everyone was panicking about peak oil and the prices were going through the roof and I thought to myself, I'm seeing a lot about this subject matter, but I'm not seeing anything from inside the business of it. And I'm always really interested, when it comes to filmmaking, and especially with vérité, at looking at perspectives that I'm not seeing. Plus, I'm pretty good at getting access to things. So I thought to myself, well, I can do that. I can make a film from inside the oil business. And wouldn't that be kind of amazing? I'd never seen it before. That's where it really started. It really started, initially, just wanting to get inside and look at the business from within. How aware were you of the inequality in Nigeria at the time? I think anyone who reads anything about Nigeria is pretty aware of the inequality. It's hard not to be aware of it. Basically what happened was, I started doing some research. And at the time there was an enormous amount of emphasis, particularly from the Bush administration, being put on the search for new sources of oil from off the coast of West Africa. There's still quite a bit of activity going on there. It's considered this new frontier for oil companies because it's considered underexplored, particularly the undersea, the underwater areas. So I thought that could be an interesting place to look. Then, in late 2005, early 2006, this militancy in Nigeria started popping up in the news, and groups of militants were attacking pipelines and causing worldwide oil prices to skyrocket. They were kidnapping oil workers and demanding more benefits from everything. So that sort of answers your question, which is to say that the entire thing was framed in that inequality. I thought that could be really interesting. There's something happening there. Why don't I go to Nigeria and try to find a story? Originally, I thought I was going to make the whole film in Nigeria. I started by buying a plane ticket to Lagos. And I didn't know anyone in the oil business. I didn't know anyone on the continent of Africa, but I went anyways. I had a few phone numbers in my pocket from people who knew people, like my husband's business partner, her brother had gone to boarding school with a Nigerian guy. So I had his number. You know, really random phone numbers that had nothing to do with the oil business. But that's where I began. I started with this idea that, you know, sort of this six degrees of separation, that you can get to anybody if you figure out how everyone's connected. And with this story, everyone really is connected. I mean, the militants are connected to the government and the government is connected, obviously, to the companies. Everyone is connected to everybody else. What were those early months in Nigeria like? How did you approach breaking into the story? Well, on the first trip, it was really mostly about getting over my fear of Lagos. By the way, I really like Lagos -- it's kind of an amazing city. It's a complicated city, but I learned a lot there. I started by calling the four phone numbers that I had, meeting those people, and asking them if they knew anybody who might help me. And every time I spoke with somebody, I asked them if they had any ideas. And then I called those people [that they recommended] and I cast a really, really wide net. It took me a year and a half of traveling back and forth between the Niger Delta and Lagos and New York City, where I live. I mean, I think I spent more time in Nigeria that first year than I did in America. I spent a lot of time there. I hit the pavement and tried to meet as many people as I could. How did you first build the relationship with Kosmos? Kosmos came in later. Like I said, when I first started, the original concept was that I was going to do it all in Nigeria. I read about Kosmos. At the time, in late 2006, I went to Lagos for the first time in August of 2006. And at the time, Kosmos existed and they were buying up exploration rights offshore in different countries. But they were not yet active. They hadn't yet drilled their first well. So I had read about them, because I was doing my research on the area. People were really interested in what they were doing because the guy who started that company had a really good reputation as someone who could find oil in places where other people hadn't. They had all worked together at a company called Triton Energy in the late 90s, and at Triton they had been the people who had first discovered oil off the coast of Equatorial Guinea. So, you know, people when they saw that the Kosmos guys were interested in something, others became interested. There was a lot of talk about them. I had reached out to Brian Maxted, who was the number two guy there, very early on in my research. And he didn't respond to me. I didn't hear back. I tried a couple times and had no luck. And then I filmed a panel discussion about Nigeria in 2007 in Houston that Brian was on. It was my very first shoot. After I filmed him on this panel, he signed a release form and I got his information and told him who I was, and he started returning my emails. We ultimately went out to lunch in Houston several months later, and I sort of pitched him on what I wanted to do. He said, well, I believe you, why don't you come pitch to the guys who started the company. I went to Kosmos and did a really lame PowerPoint presentation. I gave them three options of things that they could do. Just let me shoot anything on an oil rig, because I was having a lot of trouble getting onto an oil rig. That was number one. Number two was, let me follow you in Nigeria, because I know they were interested in that area. Now, by the time I actually pitched them as a group, they had just drilled their first well, and with that well they had discovered this massive new oil field off the coast of Ghana. So option number 3 was, guys, you just made this huge discovery off the coast of Ghana, I think there's a good story here. And they ultimately went for option number 3. So when that happened, my whole conception for the film changed and it became a much larger thing. The scope of the film broadened. It really became more of a film about human nature, than about a particular place. To me, this is a film fundamentally about human nature and capitalism. I never really approached it as a film about oil or a film about Africa. I really did approach it as a film about human nature. And that's sort of what led me to the "Big Man" thing. Was greed a theme you were interested in prior to this story, or was that a conclusion that rose from the reporting? When you go to Nigeria particularly -- and this is true in Ghana too, but it's really true in Nigeria -- and every time I've shown this film to audiences and done Q&As, when they're Nigerians in the audience, I always ask them about this, and they all sort of nod their heads. But, basically, this concept of the "big man" is just something you hear everyday, all the time, wherever you go. It's a common phrase. You go to the lobby of a hotel and you need help finding a restaurant, and someone says, "Go talk to the big man." It's a very, very common phrase. And it's used in reference to somebody who's in charge. It's used to refer to somebody who has a good reputation. But it's always a guy, it's the guy on top. The guy in charge. The guy with the power. And everybody wants to big. And people talk about wanting to be big. I became very fascinated with that idea. To me, that desire to be big, it's something that very much drives society where I live. I live in New York. New York's all about people wanting to be big, and their ambition, their drive. But in Nigeria, they actually talk about it. They label it in a very clear way. To me, that was just documentary gold. To have this impulse that is such a driving force in their world, and in my world, spoken about in such clear language. It allows you to look at it in a way that's much more on the surface than it is here. Even though, of course, it's here in spades. So that's how I became interested in it -- in this incredibly common phrase that I think is indicative of a really deep impulse that basically rules our entire society. And that's what I mean when I say I never really thought about this as a film about Ghana or a film about Nigeria. For me, it was a film about people and their impulses and what's driving them. And how these driving forces are both uniting them and dividing them. There's a line in the film towards the very end that I think is one of the more important lines in the whole film. This guy who's on the board of the GNPC says, "What unites us has to be greater than what divides us." To me, that's sort of the ultimate question, right? How does that work? How do you make that happen? So I really wanted the film to function -- and I think it does, and it's something that I'm really proud of -- as a really good story about people and what happens to them. As much as it is a story about these larger natural resource questions, or questions specifically about Nigeria and Ghana. It needed to work on all those levels, both on a grand scale and on a mini scale. Did you ever struggle to reserve judgment on characters? For example, when Kosmos gave the village $10,000 for schools, was that uncomfortable? First of all, that's very normal. A lot of people see it as like, oh my God, the bribery. But people who haven't spent time in West Africa don't know that anytime you go to a village, or anytime you meet any kind of...First of all, anytime you go to a village, you have to meet the chief. And, generally speaking, you're supposed to bring them a gift. That's what you do. And the Ashanti king is the head honcho king of Ghana. He's an incredibly important political figure. So it's sort of considered culturally acceptable and expected that when you go and visit him, you bring him a gift. But, of course, I think that scene is indicative of a real cultural difference. The way things are done in various places is very different. In terms of reserving judgment, I think part of the reason people let me film them is because I'm not really a judgmental person. If I approach somebody, and I say, "I wanna film you," it's because I'm sincerely interested in what they have to say. My theory about people is that they know their own stories from their own perspectives. And just because I don't necessarily share somebody's perspective doesn't mean I don't have something to learn from their perspective. It doesn't make their perspective invalid. It might make our opinions different, it might make our politics different, but it doesn't mean that they're wrong and not worth listening to, or inherently somehow evil. I just never approached anyone in the film that way, not the oil companies, not the governments, not the militants. I approached everyone with the idea that they had something to share and something to say. And I wanted to look into what that was. Were there times where it was harder to preserve access to characters as the story developed? How did you navigate that? Of course. Kosmos was under investigation. They had the FBI knocking on their door. There were serious problems going on. And they were simultaneously trying to sell their company for a few billion dollars. So yeah, in those moments, access becomes strained and oil companies are not exactly inclined to allow independent filmmakers to openly run around when things are that tense. That said, the job of a documentary filmmaker, in this situation, is to be realistic and simultaneously pushy. You recognize that you're not going to get this scene with Exxon Mobile talking about deal terms. Exxon's not going to let me film that scene. That said, that doesn't mean that I can't get the head of Kosmos's board of directors to talk about Exxon. My attitude is always to just talk very openly with people about what their limits are and what they can do and what they can't do. And to try to be respectful of those limits. Because, otherwise, you won't get any access. If you stay with any story long enough, there are always going to be moments of tension. Whatever the story is. It just so happens that this film is about the most important resource on the planet. We're talking about billions and billions of dollars and governments and massive companies. Isn't Exxon the largest company in the world? So they're pretty hefty players. In that context, the fact that the film exists, to me, is extraordinary. I think it's kind of amazing to be behind the scenes during the FCPA investigation. It's kind of crazy. To be walking around the offices with a camera. The way that happens is by being respectful of people's limits. Did you have any favorite characters in the story? I have to say, I met so many people over the course of making the film. There are hundreds and hundreds of hours in the movie. It took me years of traveling back and forth before I got the access and got the permissions that were really necessary to keep us safe. By the way, my camera man and I, we might have been the only foreign documentary crew to not get arrested and deported while we were filming there. There were multiple crews that were arrested and deported. It was a difficult moment to be filming in the Niger Delta. That said, I can't say I have a favorite person in the movie. But certainly, I met so many people over the course of making this film who really changed the way I see the world, and my own understanding of my place in it. I'm very grateful for that. What do you see in Ghana's future? Do you have hope for their ability to capitalize on their resources effectively and fairly? I think Ghana's making a real effort. I'm pretty impressed with the level of transparency so far there, both with the companies and from the government. You know, it's a work in progress. I always knew when I started the film, the questions of: Who is going to benefit? Was this going to be done equitably? None of that was going to be answered in the foreseeable future. I really do think it's going to take like another ten years before you come down one way or the other on how the resources are being exploited. It takes time for these things to function and for people to get their act together. That's normal. But you know, I certainly see there are a lot of people there who really do want to do the right thing. It's very difficult to do the right thing. And I think the only guarantee ultimately is going to be public accountability, which means encouraging transparency and encouraging the public, NGOs, and the press to really get their facts straight. And try to keep track of what's happening and to talk about it openly so that there's some accountability. You've done two massive undertakings now. What does it look like when you're in between stories? Do you know what you're working on next? I had two children while I was making this film. So the landscape of my life is very different than it was when I started the film. I actually think I'm going to make a film about my husband. I'm kind of excited about it. My husband's a fiction filmmaker and he's about to go make this crazy movie in South Africa. I just think it could be really fun to make a film about the making of his film. And my access would be great. I wouldn't have to fight for it. So I think I'm going to do that, just as a palette cleanser. I think it could be a really fun movie and I'm ready for a little bit of fun.
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ArtPlace Archived Articles -- Creative Placemaking

Forgotten NY

Ephemeral New York

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John J. Lynch AICP
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