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Kaid Benfield’s Blog

Signs of inspiration and resilience in an inner-city neighborhood (photo essay)

Kaid Benfield

Posted October 5, 2012

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  (c2012 FK Benfield)

As part of a three-day intensive green planning meeting earlier this week, I had the honor of joining a walking tour of an inner-city Boston neighborhood that has had its share of struggles but also has reason for hope.  Among struggles, for example, it has been plagued by incidents of drug dealing, crime, property deterioration and vacancy, and economic distress.

  (c2012 by FK Benfield)

                     (c2012 by FK Benfield)

But the neighborhood is also highly walkable; has several examples of good, new affordable housing and mixed-use development, much of it put in place by the nonprofit but very active Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation; and is getting two new commuter rail stations opening next month.  It also appears to have a terrific network of community organizations and leaders, a diverse population (47 percent black, 29 percent white, 12 percent Latino), and a range of neighborhood assets including a library, YMCA, churches, banks, affordable housing, health care centers, great bus transit access and many small businesses and shops.

  (c2012 by FK Benfield)

                     (c2012 by FK Benfield)

We’re helping the neighborhood shape its own revitalization with green development principles.  Our team from NRDC and our national community development partner, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (see my earlier description of LISC’s important energy efficiency work in Boston neighborhoods), were wonderfully hosted on the tour and during the meeting by the CSNDC and a citizens’ group, the Talbot Norfolk Triangle (TNT) Neighbors United.  The TNT section of the neighborhood, adjacent to one of the new transit stations, is our focus.

During the walk, I couldn’t help but notice an impressive number of community signs vividly expressing the its pride and determination.  They struck me has highly symbolic expressions of a hopeful future for the neighborhood.

  (c2012 by FK Benfield)

                     (c2012 by FK Benfield)

  (c2012 by FK Benfield)

I will be writing much more about Codman Square, the Talbot Norfolk Triangle and the good work being done there.  But, for today, I just wanted to share with you these inspirational neighborhood expressions. 

  (c2012 by FK Benfield)

                     (c2012 by FK Benfield)

  (c2012 by FK Benfield)

Codman Square revitalization series:

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Kaid Benfield writes about community, development, and the environment on Switchboard and in other national media.  For more posts, see his blog's home page.  Please also visit NRDC’s Sustainable Communities Video Channels.

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Ken FirestoneOct 5 2012 10:55 AM

Kaid, great post! I'm looking forward to more. Is there any connection between this group and DSNI?

Kaid @ NRDCOct 5 2012 01:24 PM

Ken, one link is that LISC has invested in both Dudley Street and Codman Square. And I'm sure the Boston Redevelopment Authority is active in both neighborhoods. Probably the Codman NDC and the DSNI know each other and share ideas.

But as far as I know there is no official connection; they are in different parts of town, as you probably know.

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