Location:East Palo Alto, CA
Client:Woodland Park Communities
Partners:Emily Weinstein Consulting
Role:Community Development Consultant
Consisting of 1800 naturally occurring affordable (rent control) units, Woodland Park is a sprawling development on the westside of the city of East Palo Alto (EPA). EPA is a primarily low-wage community of color, with a significant Latino and historic African American populations. The city, which is featured as case study in Richard Rothstein’s Color of Law, exists on the edge of Silicon Valley but is an epitome of what the lack of spatial justice looks like.
The initial project brief was to work with the residents to identify how to improve their quality of life. Starting initially with a series of small group Listening and Visioning Sessions, that effort has led to an ongoing conversation with residents through a variety of efforts, including a newly formed Resident Advisory Committee; programming in partnership with local organizations like the YMCA and local schools to address resident needs; and development of spaces like two community designed popup parks that help address the lack of outdoor recreation, gathering, exercise, and relaxation spaces on this side of town.
In 2018, Woodland Park Communities started a redevelopment effort on a small section of the property. Impacting approximately 100 households and with a commitment to No Displacement, the team embarked on a robust community-engaged process to develop a plan that could meet the needs of residents in the improvement area, provide amenities that could benefit the residents in the surrounding areas, and explore what contextual development might look like in this community.
An additional phase of work is now looking at how to shift the real estate and community development work of this company’s work in East Palo Alto to operate with an antiracist lens.