Our Green Urbanism team met with the Mayor of the City of Camden and her staff, along with the Camden Housing Authority, in an effort to improve the neighborhood scale sustainability in the City's Centerville Neighborhood.
The area has seen a large public investment to the tune of $140 million through HOPE IV, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program to improve public housing by providing a mix of income levels. The Camden Housing Authority was recently awarded a Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) Planning Grant, the successor of the HOPE VI program. The funds will go towards creating a plan for improving the last remaining 1940's style public housing development, Branch Village, with the hopes of being awarded the Implementation funds under CNI in the upcoming application round (2013).
Through our Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities EPA grant funding, our team of technical experts (including Agora Group and USGBC), embarked on three-day sustainable neighborhood assessment using LEED for Neighborhood Development (ND) to identify City-wide policies, neighborhood design, and development practices that will improve overall sustainability and community resiliency, but specifically to enhance the plans for the Branch Village renovation. Our LEED-ND based recommendations will help strengthen the Housing Authorities CNI Implementation Grant application, since HUD awards points in the competitive application process to projects that are pursuing LEED-ND certification or following the principles therein. It is our hope that the Branch Village housing development will pursue formal LEED-ND certification to remain highly competitive in the application process. If awarded, implementation funds will provide a substantial portion of the funds required to redevelop the housing units at Branch Village and other near by subsidized housing.