In a story that epitomizes the trends documented in the 2020 book, RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity, African American residents are asking transportation planners to take a restorative approach to investment.
They have proposed a land bridge to revitalize St. Paul, Minnesota‘s Rondo neighborhood, which was fragmented and devastated by earlier bad (and racist) urban planning.
Their “big idea” is to create Minnesota’s first African American cultural enterprise district connected by a community land bridge.
They hopes this will not only repair, restore and revitalize Rondo, but will help reverse racial disparity gaps in Minnesota.
Their shared vision is to:
- Revitalize, protect and promote Rondo as a thriving, heritage-rich neighborhood;
- Restore wealth and control for African Americans and the Rondo community;
- Support prosperous new opportunities for African American businesses; and
- Cultivate African American leadership ensuring greater equitable outcomes.
Reconnect Rondo says their activities are strategically aligned to ensure equitable outcomes for African Americans and the Rondo neighborhood:
- Neighborhood Reconnection: Reconnect the neighborhood on both sides of I-94 in ways that serve as a catalyst for community-wide initiatives;
- Minimize Barriers to Affordable Housing: Provide financial incentives. Promote the production and preservation of diverse, safe, healthy and affordable housing;
- Equitable Development: Create an inclusive framework for economic opportunities;
- Public Health/Green Space: Improve public health disparities by providing access to green space and outdoor opportunities; and
- Community Leadership: As a community led initiative, work closely with state, regional and city officials to implement regulatory and policy solutions, maximize community involvement, minimize involuntary displacements and moderate gentrification.
- Create an African American cultural enterprise district connected by a community land bridge. This is a multi-layer, multi-year endeavor. It will require the commitment, advocacy and resources of community members, policy makers, funders, and a technical team made up of engineers, architects, and developers. It will need to be led and informed by the community.
Rendering courtesy of HGA/Reconnect Rondo.