Community Revitalization

The CivicMoxie team believes that the community is the most important part of any “Community Revitalization” project. Involving the people and local institutions, organizations and businesses in revitalization efforts is the only approach to sustainable growth and long-term vitality for neighborhoods, business districts and regions.

Revitalization should not be imposed on a community; rather it should come from the community.  CivicMoxie seeks to identify all stakeholders and bring seemingly diverse interests and values to the planning process.

Revitalization efforts seek to accomplish many things:

  • To recruit businesses to serve residents and create vibrant commercial areas
  • To provide jobs
  • To enhance the quality of the housing stock (and ensure affordability or market rate…depending on community needs)
  • To find new uses for vacant or underutilized buildings
  • To provide a foundation for cultural and social lives of residents and business people
  • To create a vibrant and safe public realm that reflects the character of the community
  • To enhance an area’s image in order to foster positive change and growth for residents

Susan Silberberg has co-taught the “Revitalizing Urban Main Streets” practicum workshop in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning for ten years.  In working with urban main streets districts in Boston and New Orleans, she explores the nexus between economic development and urban design.  The CivicMoxie team utilizes Susan’s expertise to remove revitalization projects from potential silos of professional practice.  On their own, new sidewalks, planters and fresh storefront signage do not revitalize a commercial district.  Similarly, renaming and rebranding a neighborhood cannot make an area safe, nor can it provide instant cache helpful in recruiting residents and businesses.  Successful revitalization efforts require a multi-pronged approach that involves market analysis, physical assessment, and an understanding of organizations and capacity.

The CivicMoxie team includes Karl Seidman, economic development consultant, to ensure a multi-faceted approach is used in revitalization planning.  Projects may also incorporate transportation planning/traffic calming, landscape and public realm improvements, branding and marketing recommendations, housing planning, and real estate development feasibility assessments.

What we can do:

  • Assess the physical characteristics of the area (buildings, housing stock, public realm, historic resources, vacancies, street vitality, traffic and pedestrian experiences and image)
  • Conduct a study of the demographics of the community and prepare a market analysis (what is the business mix, spending power of the market area, sales gap analysis?)
  • Identify market competition (housing, jobs, businesses)
  • Assess local capacity and stakeholders/partners interests and strengths
  • Analyze development feasibility
  • Identify financing and funding sources
  • Create design and signage guidelines
  • Recommend zoning and other regulatory changes
  • Create branding and marketing strategies
  • Identify  public art strategies and goals
  • Suggest urban design and public realm improvements