Atlantic Cities

One Incredibly Easy Way to Let People Know Your Neighborhood Is Getting Better

One Incredibly Easy Way to Let People Know Your Neighborhood Is Getting Better
Kaid Benfield

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.

This post originally appeared on the NRDC's Switchboard blog.

All images by Kaid Benfield.

Kaid Benfield is special counsel for urban solutions at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and author of several books on cities, smart growth and sprawl. All posts »

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