We are excited to be featured in PD&R Edge, the online magazine of HUD (the US Department of Housing and Urban Development). An excerpt is below or read the full article.
“The cottages are part of the Baptist Town neighborhood revitalization project, which includes new parks, streetscape improvements, job training, and a community center… According to Emily Roush-Elliott, an architectural fellow…, the built environment often reinforces social and economic inequity instead of helping residents. One of the goals of the Baptist Town Cottages is to reverse some of that inequity by providing desperately needed affordable housing and helping residents build financial equity through homeownership…The installation and finishing of the cottages were seen as a ‘joint investment in both the built environment and human capacity,’ says Roush-Elliott, and were used to enhance the job readiness of some Baptist Town residents [who] received on-the-job training in carpentry and other building trades as they helped complete the cottages.”
In 2013, eight Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellows received $5,000 grants through a partnership between Enterprise Community Partners and the Fetzer Institute. While creative placemaking is becoming increasingly common, these grants added the important, if not imperative, lens of love and forgiveness to each project.
Last week, these small projects were featured (with a focus on Yakima’s ‘Tour de Farce’) in an article published by Next City. In particular, the grant recipients cited the freedom that these small grants gave to allow a truly local response and to take risks while working to catalyze larger efforts. Read about how we used the grant here in Greenwood for GOOD@ Community Day, and keep an eye out for a book that will soon come out with “recipes” for how to conduct love and forgiveness based placemaking in your own community.
Photo credit: Joann Ware
Last month I wrote a blog post for Enterprise linking the inspiration I have gained from Lina Bo Bardi’s work, particularly SESC Pompeia, with the aspirations our team has for the Baptist Town Community Center. I reference a quote of hers that I read in Rowan Moore’s Why We Build about when she first visited the site:
“’I thought: it has to continue like this, with so much happiness. I returned many times, Saturdays and Sundays, until I really got it – understood those happy things people were doing.’”
As we celebrated the opening of the Baptist Town Community Center, I was reminded of the lessons I learned from SESC. Here, we similarly (albeit within a shorter time frame and smaller budget) worked with the bones of an existing building. We set up shop within the Baptist Town neighborhood and attempted to make small and useful additions to a place that is already vibrant with life and energy.
After one month of operations, I’m not ready to write any grant reports about “measurable impacts” or “long-term outcomes”, but the number of people who are participating and enjoying the center is really promising. In June we had Zumba classes, community movie nights, and offered job application assistance. Yolande’s art classes were a huge success, sometimes drawing more than twenty-five people. To me, this is the goal of social impact architecture; to make a space like the Baptist Town Community Center a happy place.
Richard is back from Tanzania, and Village Life Outreach Project’s latest co-op Jesse Larkins is continuing construction work on the Roche Health Center Housing project. The building is looking good, but check out the team we’re proud to be a part of pulling this truss together.
The upcoming class of Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellows will be one of the most diverse in terms of geography, scale and partners yet. The five exciting opportunities will be located in New York City; Poughkeepsie, NY; Porcupine, SD; Seattle, WA; and Denver, CO. Learn about the fellowship, the five work plans, and how to apply here.
The application deadline has been extended to July 26th, 2015.
Enterprise summarizes the Fellowship, “The Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship partners early-career architectural designers with local community development organizations, where they facilitate an inclusive approach to development to create green, sustainable, and affordable communities. As an integral staff member of the organization, the fellow will focus on advancing the organization’s practices in community engagement, sustainability and design excellence.
By becoming a fellow, you join a growing network of passionate and talented public interest designers who are continuously changing what is possible in community development.”
Here is one last profile of a Cottage owner assisted by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas Home Equity Leverage Partnership Program (FHLB HELP). A lifelong resident of the Baptist Town neighborhood, Dorothy was one of the first people to apply for a cottage. Throughout the process of preparing for the project, construction and sale of the homes, Dorothy was patient and supportive, but also didn’t hesitate to be honest. She helped guide me and this project with wisdom and spunk that I think show in her picture.
The PR Newswire summarizes her story this way, “Dorothy Russell, 61, knows you can go home again. She was awarded a Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership grant from Planters Bank & Trust Company and FHLB Dallas which was put toward her down payment on her new home. Her new home is located on the same lot of her childhood home.” In her own words, “‘I was away from this spot for nearly 30 years,” she said. “I always wanted to buy a house, but I didn’t expect it to be exactly where I grew up. I’m so proud of my house.'”
Read the full article here.
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas continues the series featuring Cottage buyers with a great PR Newswire article about Lora and Michael.
“Lora and Michael Gallion were lifelong renters and living on a fixed income. The only houses the couple could afford were run-down spaces that were almost uninhabitable.
Then one day, the Gallions saw a sign about the Baptist Town Cottages, a revitalized neighborhood in Greenwood, Mississippi, with new homes for families earning less than 50 percent of the area median income.
“I’m so glad we saw the sign,” said Mrs. Gallion, 50, a former certified nursing assistant now living on disability. “We had looked at other homes to rent, but even at $400 a month, the condition of them was not good.””
Continue reading the article at PR Newswire.
The Baptist Town Cottage Project has outcomes that are immediately apparent: families have decent, safe places to live. To expand the impact this project has further, our project team has folded in empathy, skills training and design thinking. This has included the Ladies in the Landscape storm-water demonstration garden, employing neighborhood residents throughout construction, and creating carpentry and landscaping details based on the preferences of each home owner. Now, as the closings are being completed for each home, Cottage buyers are finding allies in the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB) and Planters Bank and Trust. To date, FHLB’s Home Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) program has provided down-payment assistance grants to eight families. Read the article about this grant success on the PR Newswire.
My favorite part is this great picture of Brenda, and her story.
“She is finding her way back to something. She lived in Biloxi when Hurricane Katrina hit, and she was displaced from her home,” Ms. Roush-Elliott said. “The Baptist Town Cottages were designed for people in her situation, and despite many years and many miles traveled, she now owns a home designed to be a dignified place to live, affordable for her family, and resilient in the face of disaster.” (Excerpt from the article)
By far, one of the highlights of the American Institute of Architects 2015 National Convention was Moshe Safdie’s acceptance of the Gold Medal Award. Safdie’s work strikes the difficult balance between sensitivity and scale, between humane and replicable.
In this TED talk from 2014, Safdie shares design and planning lessons learned over nearly fifty years, beginning with Habitat ’67 and spanning to projects currently under construction in Singapore. Though he discusses low and middle income housing throughout this video, his focus is on nature and shared spaces, underlying the lack of ego with which Safdie approaches architecture.
He who seeks truth shall find beauty
He who seeks beauty shall find vanity
He who seeks order shall find gratification
He who seeks gratification shall be disappointed
He who considers himself a servant of his fellow beings shall find the joy of self expression
He who seeks self expression shall fall into the pit of arrogance
Arrogance is incompatible with nature
Through nature, the nature of the universe and the nature of man, we shall seek truth
If we seek truth we shall find beauty
It isn’t a coincidence that as even naysayers admit the economic recession is over in the US, conversations linking housing to a wide range of ramifications (especially health outcomes) are on the rise. Government funding priorities will be shifting quickly in coming years, and it is important that housing not be pigeon-holed as a single funding use, but an investment with long and wide ranging returns. In particular, economic development could lead the charge by rallying around housing as a priority that supports a capable work force, attracts new businesses, and could potentially stem the tide of declining populations in rural areas.
You can be a part of this conversation at the AIA National Convention in Atlanta next week by joining “The Role of Housing Design in Community and Economic Development” pre-convention workshop, or some of the other events shown on the postcard below.