A recent piece from Next City highlights the importance of community-engaged design in equitable development. Houston’s Third Ward, similarly to many communities across the country, is undergoing a shift in its DNA. What was a traditionally African American community made up of modest single-family homes has become a hot spot for developers due to a new light rail and revamped park. The majority of new housing units being built are not affordable for the existing community, and many residents fear that the new amenities will be the cause of their displacement.
The community is organizing to address these concerns through the Emancipation Economic Development Council (EEDC). The group of residents, church leaders, and local organizers is leading a process of community-engaged design to empower the community. This does not mean only addressing the current condition of the community, but more importantly focusing on the policies, structures, and systems that allowed for the conditions to develop. The idea that spaces can restore justice through their design is central to this effort, as is the authentic participation of community members.
Read more about How Community-Engaged Design Is Changing Development on Next City. Visit this recent Plan4Health blog post to explore Health Equity and Planning resources.