More than 100 residents gathered with San Diego real estate experts at the Bronze Triangle Community Development Corporation’s (CDC) recent community charrette to discuss revitalization of the CDC’s neighborhoods, which encompass Grant Hill, Logan Heights and Stockton.
The charrette (a French term that signifies a collaboration of ideas with the outcome being an action plan) was designed to bring together residents and local real estate experts to garner ideas and build support for revitalizing these three urban San Diego neighborhoods that border the downtown ballpark. Discussions included affordable housing, neighborhood beautification, creating a commercial retail town center in the Imperial Avenue corridor and rehabilitating a former hospital site into a “medical mall” of physicians and health care offices. The ideas cultivated from the community charrette will be later used as an outline for Bronze Triangle’s “City of Villages” pilot program application.
“This isn’t just an ordinary meeting where people complain about the problems in their neighborhoods,” said Gale Walker, board president and resident of the Bronze Triangle. There were facilitators who engaged participants in discussions and brainstorming sessions designed to elicit concrete ways to best revitalize these three neighborhoods in keeping with the residents’ vision of their community. The goal is to build upon the strong sense of community that exists and together come up with workable solutions that will then be used for the Bronze Triangle’s submittal to the City of San Diego’s ‘City of Villages’ pilot program.
How the charrette worked
Large and small group discussions tackled issues such as making streets safer, promoting homeownership, creating a pedestrian-oriented commercial retail center, stepping up neighborhood beautification efforts and encouraging community involvement.
Facilitators and real estate professionals worked with large groups of residents for ideas and input and documented for large group discussions. The goal was for residents to review all the ideas and prioritize what they would like to see happen first using concrete designs and action items to accomplish the tasks.
“We were hosting this event for residents to share their vision and goals for the community and to demonstrate that we, as residents, are united and willing to begin the process of rebuilding our neighborhoods from within to improve the quality of our own lives,” Walker said.
Preparation for the charrette
The CDC recently hosted two field trips, one in April and one in June, to introduce community and business leaders to the three blighted neighborhoods in preparation for the charrette. Attendees of the field trips were taken on a bus tour of the three neighborhoods and given packets of information on the area to encourage potential partnerships for revitalization. In addition to the field trips, the resident-led CDC has already funded extensive research to obtain data on the neighborhoods and hosted two resident workshops in January 2002 to gain resident input for a neighborhood strategic plan, which has been completed as a first step in the community reinvestment project.
About The Bronze Triangle CDC
The Bronze Triangle CDC, a resident-led community development corporation formed in October 2000 by Gale R. Walker, is designed to create a self-reliant, self-sustaining community through community and economic development coupled with needed social services. The CDC serves the neighborhoods of Grant Hill, Stockton and Logan Heights. Their mission is to create social change by giving people the tools necessary to transform their destiny, to improve the quality of life and to stimulate development by creating the means of supportive networks designed to empower rather than perpetuate dependence.
For more information on the City of San Diego’s “City of Villages” pilot program, please visit their web site at http://www.sandiego.gov/cityofvillages/index.shtml .