Remembering the HOPE VI Principles

In 2000, the city was awarded a 35 million dollar grant from HUD for the HOPE VI project to revitalize Durham. The Developers produced a lavish document describing the principles behind this revitalization effort. You can see the whole document here:

But a few passages from it are worth reemphasizing today. Here’s one:

“North East Central Durham must also maintain and reinforce the connection with its history and the historic assets that lend it character. The dignified mill buildings that established this neighborhood can become focal points and symbols of the community. The Revitalization Plan must also acknowledge the bungalows of the Golden Belt historic district and complement their character in the design of new residential development.”

There’s much more in this ambitious plan that’s still relevant today. But those words are particularly significant given that the Durham Rescue Mission wishes to tear down some of those houses and create a private compound in part of the neighborhood.  Their plans have also called for closing off streets.  But the HOPE VI plan called for precisely the opposite.  Here’s what it said:

“North East Central Durham must overcome not only its isolation from the surrounding community but also the isolation experienced by pockets within the neighborhood. To do so, the design must establish street patterns that physically connect the neighborhood internally and to adjacent areas. This involves breaking oversize blocks into a more regular street grid and aligning intersections and streets to establish a predictable pattern to the neighborhood. Reconnecting the neighborhood also requires invigorating vacant or desolate spaces that create psychological distance.”

If the Planning Department and the City Council were to ignore these principles in rezoning the Golden Belt neighborhood, will the City give the 35 million back?

–John Martin


One Response to “Remembering the HOPE VI Principles”

  1. Golden Belt Says:

    Your post speaks to the confusion in trying to align the goals of a grant with the reality of wind changing politics. That is why I work to see Hope Vi realized. Given landscape of today revisiting principled arguments made by those that set this revitalization ball into motion will double down on our investment in this community.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: