“Where we live shouldn’t determine how long or how well we live. In our communities, we all should be surrounded by conditions that enable us to live the healthiest life possible, such as access to healthy food, quality schools, stable housing, good jobs with fair pay, and safe places to exercise and play. Unfortunately, in many communities, there are persistent barriers to health and opportunity to thrive.” (Healthy Communities, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2020.)
After twelve years of public service*, I’ve learned that getting from policy ideas to actual authentic, equitable and sustainable places on the ground, requires Vision and Action. Positive change begins when good design and planning initiatives equip communities with the tools they need to create their own Vision for:
• Making Places for People through neighborhood-focused small area plans such as the;
— Strategic Investment Area (SIA) with two (2) resident-driven Master Plans for Redevelopment within its boundaries (Friendship Court and South First Street);
— Hydraulic (a.k.a. Emmet Street North of the 250 bypass); and
— Starr Hill (a.k.a. the Ridge/McIntire Corridor)
Plans ends in Action only when public officials implement: new rules for development; “outside-the-box” financing mechanisms; and strategies that position low-wealth people of color for good jobs with a living wage such as:
• Community-based codes (a.k.a. form-based codes);
• Community benefits districts (a.k.a. synthetic tax increment finance (TIF) districts); and
• Community investment programs (a.k.a. Growing Opportunity and local hiring programs).
*Kathleen Galvin, principal of Galvin Architects, served four years as a School Board member and eight years as a Councilor for the City of Charlottesville, VA; a City of 10 square miles with 49,000 residents (Weldon Cooper Center, 2019 and U.S. Census, 2017.)
The diagram below shows the relationships between the specific initiatives that moved from Vision to Action. This constructs a Policy Framework for getting from policy “ideas” to actual authentic, equitable and sustainable places on the ground.
(Click on any thumbnail image within the diagram below to see more details about that initiative.)