The ChallengePhysically neglected neighborhoods - those without safe, functional infrastructure and community spaces or well maintained housing- often overlap with areas of concentrated poverty, high crime, poor health and housing instability. We work with local residents and other stakeholders on comprehensive neighborhood planning, bringing skilled design thinking to improve housing and important public assets like parks, transportation and community centers.
Our MethodOur process engages the aspirations and concerns of community residents and local institutions in the transformation of key physical spaces. Often, this means reactivating neglected buildings and vacant lots as housing, retail, education and cultural facilities, or creating welcoming public areas. It also includes restoring parks and open spaces and incorporating the arts, markets and entrepreneurial businesses in creating livelier, more active places. In all projects, our goals are the same: to engage a broad group of community members in the process, better connect existing resources, and provide attractive and inviting spaces for public use.
SuccessesWorking with a network of partners, we are developing more than 300 new units of mixed-income supportive housing in targeted communities. We are also supporting our neighborhood teams by transforming long-neglected buildings in Brownsville, NY and Northeast Hartford, CT, into new community “hubs” with multiple uses. Additionally, we are guiding comprehensive neighborhood planning efforts to improve both places well into the future.
Rendering by Bernheimer Architecture
The Northeast Neighborhood Partnership (NNP) helps Northeast Hartford, CT, which suffers from historically high unemployment rates and poor public health, to turn itself around. Coordinated by Community Solutions and supported by a broad base of partners and residents, NNP works to improve, simultaneously, the health and economic security of residents and the physical condition of the neighborhood.
New Orleans - Even before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, the Big Easy had more than 6,000 homeless residents—but it lacked a strategy to deal with the problem.So in 2003, the Downtown Development District of New Orleans (DDD) contacted Common Ground's national arm, now Community Solutions, to discuss its options. “The idea that you could put someone in a high-quality environment and serve their needs and still save money—that was something we would be crazy not to try,” recalls DDD President Kurt Weigle.