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Mengqing Chen, MLA I 2017
Summer 2016
Organization: NYC Housing Preservation and Development (NYC HPD), New York, NY
Sponsor: Harvard Club of New York Foundation

” This week I met with the Director of Neighborhood Strategy, to discuss the pre-development processes and community engagement strategies for affordable housing.

Developing affordable housing is not just about building one building or several building complexes. Improving the performance of the neighborhood, including better infrastructure, facilities, and amenities, creates a healthy neighborhood and a better living environment. A neighborhood strategy team collaborates with planners, designers and governors to develop efficient solutions at a neighborhood scale that  give sound provisions for the area been planned. They organize neighborhood workshops to learn about the community’s needs.  Community members are asked to play a game in a workshop. Participants are  given “vouchers” that they can choose to invest in different facilities and amenities, such as an elementary school, a grocery store and so on. The intention is to educate the community on using limited resources and investing in the facilities they need the most, to maximize their satisfaction with the outcome.

The Neighborhood Planning Playbook provides a detailed explanation of the complete planning process and implementation, which is very useful for designers and planners, as well as community members, governors and other decision-makers.

The East New York Housing Plan and East New York Community Plan are explained in a report and a flyer the team completed for the governors and the community board. The qualitative and quantitative analysis contained in the report turned out to be very useful and convincing when communicating with the community board.”

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