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.