Kaid Benfield, Director, Sustainable Communities, Washington, DC
As part of a three-day intensive green planning meeting earlier this week, I had the honor of joining a walking tour of an inner-city Boston neighborhood that has had its share of struggles but also has reason for hope. Among struggles, for example, it has been plagued by incidents of drug dealing, crime, property deterioration and vacancy, and economic distress.
But the neighborhood is also highly walkable; has several examples of good, new affordable housing and mixed-use development, much of it put in place by the nonprofit but very active Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation; and is getting two new commuter rail stations opening next month. It also appears to have a terrific network of community organizations and leaders, a diverse population (47 percent black, 29 percent white, 12 percent Latino), and a range of neighborhood assets including a library, YMCA, churches, banks, affordable housing, health care centers, great bus transit access and many small businesses and shops.
We’re helping the neighborhood shape its own revitalization with green development principles. Our team from NRDC and our national community development partner, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (see my earlier description of LISC’s important energy efficiency work in Boston neighborhoods), were wonderfully hosted on the tour and during the meeting by the CSNDC and a citizens’ group, the Talbot Norfolk Triangle (TNT) Neighbors United. The TNT section of the neighborhood, adjacent to one of the new transit stations, is our focus.
During the walk, I couldn’t help but notice an impressive number of community signs vividly expressing the its pride and determination. They struck me has highly symbolic expressions of a hopeful future for the neighborhood.
I will be writing much more about Codman Square, the Talbot Norfolk Triangle and the good work being done there. But, for today, I just wanted to share with you these inspirational neighborhood expressions.
- A remarkable grassroots revitalization matures and thrives in Boston (March 26, 2012)
- Urban revitalization is green. Let’s make it greener, greater, and more inclusive. (August 10, 2011)
- This week’s sign of the apocalypse (July 12, 2010)
- Boston’s Asian CDC builds community from the ground up (September 1, 2009)
- Urban confusion: just gimmee some kind of sign, girl (October 9, 2008)
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Kaid Benfield writes about community, development, and the environment on Switchboard and in other national media. For more posts, see his blog’s home page. Please also visit NRDC’s Sustainable Communities Video Channels.
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