Community Development & Outreach

I am passionate about innovative urban planning ideas including activating vacant lots for temporary uses, creating unique retail and entertainment experiences, and thinking outside the box to solve housing affordability.

I also know ​that not all communities need a community garden or a pedestrian alleyway with pop-up retail. I believe that the most important part of any community development is outreach, and truly listening to what the residents want and need.

You can find a sample of my community development and outreach work below.

As part of a Walkable Urban Development course, my classmates and I consulted with the Capitol Riverfront BID and created proposals for their upcoming strategic plan redevelopment. 

Strategic Plan Proposal for the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District

I lead a team of seven students in creating the proposal over the course of a semester, and was in charge of the Transportation Section. Our proposal's guiding vision focused on creating a cohesive, equitable neighborhood through innovative uses of vacant land, unique retail experiences, and improved mobility options. We also focused on climate resilience within our proposal.

You can view the full proposal by clicking on this link.

Housing Analysis of Portland, Oregon and Proposed Solutions for Affordability

My Urban and Regional Policy Analysis Course focused on housing policy and I analyzed the housing sector of Portland, Oregon over the course of the semester. I identified the major housing problems in the city and proposed a set of solutions to improve affordability for all. 

The City of Portland has a relatively high housing cost burden and has been under a State of Emergency on Housing and Homelessness since 2015. It has struggled with gentrification and displacement, a lack of affordable housing stock, and a high number of homeless residents.

Proposed solutions included continuing the recently implemented inclusionary housing policy that city council was considering eliminating, create a renter equity program, focus on transit-oriented development, and construct a permanent supportive housing complex for the homeless population.

You can view my presentation by clicking on this link.

Community Outreach in Shirlington Village for Arlington County

My studio course spend the semester doing community outreach and running a public meeting on proposed density changes in Shirlington Village for Arlington County.

There were multiple steps to this outreach, including designing a flyer for the event, posting the flyer and engaging with local community members about the event, running the event, then presenting to Arlington County on our findings and experience.

My team created the winning flyer that was then used to advertise the event. You can view the flyer by clicking on this link.

Our presentation to Arlington County included a summary of community views on the proposed increased density, which my team was in charge of, and ideas for improvements to future community meetings. You can view the full presentation by clicking on this link.

Research Paper on Activating Vacant Lots with Community Gardens

For my Sustainable Communities research paper, I wrote about how activating vacant lots with community gardens can provide numerous social, economic, and environmental benefits. I focused on case studies in low-income communities and analyzed programs in Chicago, Detroit, and Buffalo.

I provided a number of best practices for municipalities and nonprofits wishing to activate vacant space and empower their communities through supporting community gardens. They include policy suggestions to make using vacant lots temporarily easier, improving communication between municipalities and the communities with vacant lots, using community land trusts as a steward of community gardens, and ideas for job creation associated with community gardens such as local co-ops and farmers markets.

You can view the full paper by clicking on this link.

Policy Memo on Supporting Economically Distressed Communities

My Sustainable Communities II term project required us to do a deep dive into the economic and demographic history of three rural, economically distressed communities and into one regional commission then create a theory of change for economic redevelopment based around what we learned from our research. 

My policy memorandum proposed a dual pronged strategy to support economically distressed communities in the Northern Border Regional Commission that includes a Main Street program focused on enhancing existing assets and a Modern Economy program that focused on the future. The Main Street program should be formed by expanding the existing Shared Heritage Economy Program and would focus on modernizing Main Street infrastructure and streetscapes, historic preservation, and improving pedestrianization. The Modern Economy program is a new category of funding and will focus on job creation and training and supporting health care and tech industries

You can view the full memorandum by clicking on this link.