|Location||Boston (MA) – Roxbury and North Dorchester area|
|Name||DSNI – Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative|
|Sector||Community building, long-term affordable housing, youth support, local development (economic, social, cultural), urban agriculture (food project)|
|Year of beginning||1984|
|Object||The DSNI’s mission is to empower Dudley Street residents to organize, plan, create and control a vibrant, diverse and high quality neighborhood, in collaboration with community partners.
The story of the DSNI starts in the 80’ thanks to the strong commitment of its residents, highly motivated to clean an abandon neighborhood full of garbage and recover vacant lots avoiding at the same time a process of gentrification: development without displacement. They launched a CLT that has made history in US.
DSNI dared to gather neighbors to create a comprehensive plan and a shared vision for a new, vibrant urban village. To fulfill the community mandate for development without displacement, DSNI gained eminent domain authority, purchased vacant land, and protected affordability and family stability through a community land trust. The once garbage-strewn vacant lots have been rebuilt with quality affordable houses, parks and playgrounds, gardens, community facilities, and new businesses. To offer affordable house to low-income residents is one of the main element around which the masterplan has been planned.
The DNSI is based on a tripartite model of governance and guided by a board where each local ethnic group is represented and has voice (African-American, Cape Verdean, Latino and White). Local churches are also involved, as well as youth, members of non-profit agencies, members of the Community Development Corporations and local businesses. The relation with the municipality and the public administration is strong but the DSNI keep its independence.
A crucial factor is the community empowerment, based on the idea that if community stakeholders, under the leadership of residents, are fully engaged, informed and equipped to act collectively to realize the community’s shared vision, then systems, policies, programs, institutions and the neighborhood will transform into the community’s vision.
Today the DSNI is composed by many different institutions and groups that work at an incredible number of projects, touching topic such as the youth education and the youth job engagement, family support, kids activities (it is recent the opening of a local school), urban agriculture, ecc..many courses are organized and they are held in Spanish, English and Creole.
Today the initiative is expanding out of the Dudley triangle, thanks to the Boston Promise Initiative, with which the Dudley Village Campus has been created. The aim is to favor the development of vibrant and thriving communities, strong and healthy families, children ready to succeed in school and successful students and schools, as well as postsecondary completion and career readiness.
|Source||Website and in depth interviews|