Vibrant and active communities thrive when their streets cater to the needs of the local residents. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for revitalizing a deserted downtown strip or establishing a bustling new district. But revitalizing one neighborhood at a time can be simpler rather than targeting a whole area? Let’s find out how!
Revitalizing One Neighborhood at A Time
While each community has its own unique needs, municipalities can greatly benefit from investing in infrastructure when funding is available. These investments can significantly enhance the engagement process and effectively meet the requirements of the community. Political determination and strategic planning are the driving forces that inspire the revitalization of a street. To revitalize a neighborhood, it is crucial to develop secure and easily accessible spaces with well-planned infrastructure. This environment not only fosters safety, but also encourages the community to envision a brighter future.
Neighborhood Revitalization Definition
Neighborhood Revitalization (NR) is an innovative and collaborative approach that aims to enhance the everyday lives of all residents within a neighborhood. This comprehensive strategy encompasses various focus areas, such as beautification, community engagement, housing improvement, and ensuring the utmost health and safety for everyone involved.
How To Revitalize a Neighborhood
In today’s age of big-box stores, revitalizing a neighborhood means creating attractive spaces where people can find what they need. The following are 9 such strategies through which the process can become easier to follow:
1. Celebrate the area’s history and uniqueness.
Historic preservation helps link the past with the present and this can instill a powerful feeling of inclusion and identity in communities. People find it meaningful when they feel to be a part of a larger whole. According to research on neighborhood cohesion and daily well-being, it was concluded that a sense of cohesion positively supports the well-being of the people in communities.
2. Embrace the concept of universal design
Universal design ensures that people with disabilities are welcomed into public spaces. This approach goes beyond simply retrofitting for accessibility. Rather than focusing on specific individuals, a universal design approach seeks to enhance the built environment in order to improve the overall quality of life for all individuals, regardless of their abilities. The design is more user-friendly for everyone.
3. Engage the community.
Different studies promote placemaking as an important factor that can help involve the community. In this process, important transformations take place in the minds of people rather than simply happening in their external places.
Residents and workers’ creative answers often emphasize the existing culture when they are engaged and asked about what is important to them. Different aspects that encourage placemaking and help build cohesion and inclusion are:
- Block parties
- Cultural festivals
- Other region-specific activities
- Playground or sports equipment
- Public art
- Unique events
4. Use the Power of 10+
The Project for Public Services brings the approach of Power of 10+ that shows how places thrive when people have around 10 reasons or more to visit the area. It can include different aspects, but the most common ones are:
- Places to gather
5. Improve accessibility for walking and biking.
People are drawn to streets with active transportation facilities that help in community engagement. Walking score and walk appeal increases the business and residence values in an area because people like places that are easily accessible to them.
Businesses worried about losing parking space to accommodate bike lanes or wider sidewalks should understand the positive impact of walking, biking, and transit on retail businesses.
6. Include greenery and artwork
Trees have a significantly positive impact on people’s health and well-being, as they create captivating environments that individuals are naturally drawn to. Streets adorned with beautiful trees add value to properties, promote safer traffic flow, and attract pedestrians to the sidewalk. Even a painted crosswalk can improve social cohesion in an area.
7. Promote public transportation.
While transit alone may not be able to single-handedly revitalize a neighborhood, it plays a crucial role in alleviating traffic congestion and increasing accessibility for people from diverse economic backgrounds as the neighborhood experiences growth. A vibrant district thrives on events, entertainment, and amenities, and transit serves as a means to make all of these elements easily accessible, ultimately attracting more people to the area.
8. Provide a meeting place for people.
A seating area is available for people of all ages and abilities. It is convenient for seniors who need to rest during shopping or for families with young children who want to sit and have a snack.
Places like parks, public patios, and parklets are where people can gather in public spaces, and they should have:
- Facing seats
- Secluded corners
- Street furniture
All these things contribute to the creation of inviting communal areas where people can gather.
9. Reduce and control traffic flow
The implementation of traffic-calming measures greatly enhances the walkability of neighborhood, fostering a stronger sense of community. To provide pedestrians with a safer and more pleasant environment to navigate on foot, the following measures are required:
- Controlling speed
- Creating interconnected roadways
- Managing intersections
- Reducing the number of lanes
This instils a sense of security and pedestrians are reassured that their needs are equally prioritized in the neighborhood.
A traffic-calmed area often evokes the charming historic downtowns that flourished prior to the dominance of automobiles. Urban villages are highly appealing to individuals due to their walkability. Moreover, communities designed for pedestrians have a significant positive impact on people’s overall life satisfaction.
Revitalizing Cities One Neighborhood at a Time demonstrates the strength that comes from working together towards a common goal. When we promote inclusivity, embrace diversity, and support local talent, we create cities that are not only prosperous, but also vibrant with a strong sense of community. We should continue the work, sustain the momentum, and build cities where every neighborhood shines with hope, opportunity, and belonging. The journey continues with empowering each neighborhood, creating resilient and compassionate cities that are truly home for all.