New York City, USA

Connected Communities Initiative

The Connected Communities Initiative commits the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to reprioritize 75 percent of its land portfolio currently fenced off and largely inaccessible to residents. 

At inception, NYCHA’s vast public spaces were internationally recognized for their well-managed, high quality and innovative designs. Unfortunately, due to shifting priorities and reallocation of funds, these once prized spaces have become forgotten places that reflect the social isolation felt by many public housing residents in the city. Expansive fencing, confusing circulation, and insufficient lighting can discourage use and increase perceptions of danger, which can lead to a proliferation of antisocial behavior and a disproportionately high level of violent crime. 

The Connected Communities initiative uses participatory methods to work with residents to identify community needs and better connect public housing residents through the design of public space. The public space activation and landscape improvements proposed by the Connected Communities initiative will set the standard for open space design at NYCHA. Such physical improvements have already shown a direct impact on lowering levels of violent crime and increasing the social cohesion of residents.

“In 2018, NYCHA partnered with the Mayor’s office and several city agencies to develop an urban design initiative focused on leveraging the 2,400 acres of open space the Authority oversees for the 400,000-plus residents living in public housing. Connected Communities is the result of that effort, providing best practices on such civic goals as increasing green space equity; activating city streets and pathways; providing better access to public transit options; and connecting NYCHA residents to vital neighborhood resources. We are excited by the promise of this initiative and are honored to be considered as a Wellbeing Cities Awards Finalist.”

Gregory Russ
Chair and Chief Executive Officer, New York City Housing Authority

* Disclosure: The Wellbeing Cities Award’s laureates and finalists were selected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil rights protests. In the light of these new events, our events team is working to reflect these crucial changes in the program of the Wellbeing Cities Forum.

Featured photo by Lukas Kloeppel from Pexels.
Photos of Connected Communities Initiative sent by the City of New York, USA.