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One America - Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative

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One America

Program: Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Roxbury, MA
Contact(s): Executive Director: (617) 442-9670
Purpose: To empower residents to direct the growth of their neighborhoods

Background Program Operations Outcomes


In 1984, residents of the Dudley neighborhood in Roxbury/Dorchester, Mass., came together to respond to the decades of public and private disinvestment, red-lining, arson-for-profit fires and illegal trash dumping into Boston's most impoverished area. These neighbors worked with community organizations to form the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) as a resident-led, collaborative effort towards community controlled, comprehensive revitalization.

Program Operations

Through an extensive community-wide process, DSNI developed a plan on how to change their neighborhood from a trash-ridden, unsafe community into a cleaner, more attractive place to live. DSNI brought together African American, Latino, Cape Verdean and white residents in the neighborhood to discuss what changes they would like to see happen in the neighborhood. They took these ideas, and incorporated them into a plan of action. Under the direction of a community-elected board of directors, DSNI sponsors an annual multicultural festival and cultural series to build community pride among residents and encourage them to celebrate different cultures. DSNI has held discussions on urban agriculture, youth entrepreneurship, cooperative ownership, and how to develop individual and community assets.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Since 1984, over 300 vacant lots have been transformed into affordable housing facilities, with playgrounds, gardens and community facilities. A new youth-designed and painted mural, "Unity Through Diversity," graces the wall of a local business. You can contact DSNI at: urbanvillage@dsni.org.

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