Equitable neighborhood revitalization aims to create healthy, successful communities of opportunity. Communities of opportunity are those that provide access to high quality education, a healthy and safe environment, sustainable employment, political empowerment, affordable transit, and outlets for wealth building, including sustainable, affordable homeownership. Access to these opportunities in our communities is essential to not only survive but thrive in our 21st century society.
By assuring access to these critical opportunity structures, the likelihood that people can meet their full potential increases dramatically, benefiting both the individual and society as a whole. But these opportunities are spread unequally throughout populations and communities; therefore, bringing opportunity to marginalized communities, and connecting marginalized communities to opportunity throughout the region, requires broad and deep collaboration, meaningful community engagement, a multi-faceted approach, a long term commitment, and the ability to leverage initiatives with public and private dollars.
The Kirwan Institute was commissioned by the White Center Community Development Association (White Center CDA) to assess the opportunities for equitable redevelopment and the robustness of community engagement in White Center, Washington. The Institute’s mission is to partner with people, communities, and institutions worldwide to think about, talk about, and engage issues of race and ethnicity in ways that create and expand opportunity for all. The Kirwan Institute is a national leader in conducting opportunity mapping to support social and racial justice initiatives.
As part of this analysis, the Kirwan Institute compiled findings from a review of reports on White Center, conducted an opportunity mapping analysis of the community and surrounding areas, and synthesized White Center stakeholder interviews to understand White Center’s existing opportunities and challenges for revitalization and civic engagement, and key policy issues moving forward.