In anticipation of its 200th Anniversary, the City of Memphis partnered with Streetwyze, Opticos Design, Alta Planning + Design, Strategic Economics, Bass River Advisors, and Self+Tucker Architects to update their citywide Comprehensive Plan for the first time in 40 years and set a new course for development and change in the City. Memphis 3.0 aims to kick-start Memphis’ third century by reversing a pattern of development that has failed to deliver benefits and quality-of-life improvements in an equitable way, while building community trust in the City’s ability to improve the lives of all Memphians.
The project spans across the 14 diverse and characteristically unique districts of Memphis. Streetwyze and Opticos worked to develop a plan-wide strategy for equitable community engagement and digital outreach at multiple scales and for a diverse range of neighborhood-types, including several major downtown areas.
In this context, key themes on which community-input were needed included economic development, transportation, redevelopment, land use, urban design, recreation, and the environment. Special consideration was paid to the coordination of public and private entities and specific enabling legislature and financing strategies for this complex project.
Streetwyze worked directly with local leaders to co-create the community engagement and digital outreach strategy. Dynamic and diverse community engagement activities and digital tools were important components of the strategic plan in order to ensure that the Memphis 3.0 Comprehensive plan is reflective of all voices and co-owned by community leaders.
Working with community and industry partners including Mithun, HR&A Advisors, Alta Planning + Design, Integral Group, Chinatown Community
Development Corporation, Biohabitats, Moffatt & Nichol, Urban Biofilter and the Resilient Design Institute – Streetwyze led the community-engaged design process for a – to participate in the year-long visioning and collaborative resiliency design challenge. Resilient by Design is a prestigious resiliency design and visioning competition sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Streetwyze brought together local residents, public officials, and local, national and international experts to develop innovative community-based solutions to strengthen resilience to sea level rise, severe storms flooding and earthquakes. The team’s project centered in North Richmond, a historically African-American and Latinx neighborhood.
In partnership with community, we pioneered an innovative community driven approach to visioning, and developing design solutions to impending climate change challenges. One of the key takeaways from this work was that that funding community engagement upfront, and community-driven, pre-development integration of projects, makes resiliency investments go farther, more effectively in order to better design and build solutions that provide direct and immediate benefits as well as long term value to the community.
Streetwyze worked in partnership with Fehr & Peers and community groups like Skater Bikes for the City of Oakland Department of Transportation’s Planning for Paving imitative. The Planning for Paving initiative represented a fundamental change in Oakland’s approach to street design and operations, in concert with Oakland’s vision for becoming a more walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly, and livable city. The community-driven transportation planning initiative included six major transportation corridors in East Oakland. The imitative established a new set of context-sensitive street types for Oakland driven by the community’s input, and include recommendations for minimum lane widths as well as dimensions for the different zones that make up sidewalks. The initiative also feature detailed intersection design guidance on topics ranging from street pavement design to separated bike lanes (cycle track) design at intersections. Streetwyze led community engagement efforts, including development of the engagement strategy, presentations to numerous community groups, communication with different city agencies, and final implementation of the community-driven designs.
Streetwyze led the Racial Equity Impact Assessment team in partnership with the City of Oakland, PolicyLink, Race Forward, Khepera Consulting, Mesu Strategies, and leaders of the Black Arts and Culture Business District, for the Downtown Specific Plan in Oakland, CA. A Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA) is a systematic examination of how different racial and ethnic groups will likely be affected by a proposed action or decision. REIAs are vital tool for preventing structural racism and for identifying new options to remedy long-standing and historic inequities between different racio-ethnic groups. Since Oakland is a fast growing racially, culturally, and LGBQTIA+ city, the plan aimed to use REIAs to minimize the unanticipated adverse consequence of gentrification and displacement, affordable housing, transportation, future growth—and create a balance of residential and office development downtown—while protecting cultural values, local character, and ensuring that vulnerable populations were co-producers of the Downtown Specific Plan. Our collective goal was to create an authentic sense of belonging that could be infused into the built environment so that all Oaklanders feel at home. Overall, Streetwyze was critical in expanding outreach to reach hard-to-reach populations, and ultimately building trust and two-way communications channels between the City and Oakland’s brilliant, bold, creative, innovative, dynamic, and diverse communities.
Newark, New Jersey consistently ranks among the lowest in air quality and has one of the higher rates of asthma. To address this challenge, Streetwyze was a part of a first of its kind partnership with Ironbound Community Corporation, the Kresge foundation, and the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, to launch an innovative program which used the Streetwyze platform to collect real-time data, location-based data, and data visualize what’s triggering residents’ symptoms and inform broader local clean air strategies. The Streetwyze mobile, mapping, and SMS platform helped community members gather, verify and pinpoints reports of air quality and other environmental indicators on an interactive map based on crowd-sourced text, photo and video reports. Residents also mapped community resources from an Asset Based Community Development perspective. Streetwyze data was able to influence cumulative causation policy in Newark locally, as well as across NJ regionally, and local community members are now working with Senator Cory Booker to pass similar policy across Environmental Justice communities nationally.
Streetwyze partnered with people experiencing homelessness, St Mary’s homeless shelter, and UCSF’s Center for Vulnerable Populations to use real-time data, location-based data, and data visualization to help homelessness individuals over 50 navigate public and private spaces and access life-saving resources. Through Streetwyze’s secure, state of the art, private accounts, people experiencing homelessness used “activity mapping” to share the challenges they face navigating communities, the assets and resources they rely on, and places/space that bring them peace and joy. The Geography of Homelessness project is important because it demonstrates how homeless populations can use the Streetwyze platform and process to create a local knowledge ecosystem that can help make visible the invisible unmet basic social needs of one of our nation’s most vulnerable populations.