This week I want to focus on mixing of uses, and steps that may be taken in our vertical construction that may help create a more integrated neighborhood. As I walk the streets of Jonestown I am shocked by the hard lines I see. Blocks tend to be all residential or all commercial. There is not nearly enough diversity in each block.
Not only does diversity of use create safer environments, because you have eyes on the street, self-policing, and more human interaction, but it also creates more exposure to people different from yourself. Currently the Albermarle Apartments (pictured above) contain no retail or commercial space within their blocks. In a similar situation, the Helping Up Mission (pictured below) is planning on building a sister facility, directed at helping women in the same circumstances as the men they currently serve. The women’s building is planned to go directly across the street from the existing men’s facility. This density of supportive housing is not going to benefit from any proximity to each other in terms of operational efficiency because each building contains all of its own supportive resources.
I believe that this project would be better integrated into the community if the women’s facility was located in another part of Jonestown, perhaps one where mixed or market rate housing exists. Even better would be to see mixed or market rate housing going onto the block that contains the Helping Up mission. The Hendler Creamery project could do just that, if it can secure financing that it has desperately been trying to nail down. The diversity in use, along with diversity in economic level that I am suggesting will be one more step to creating a tolerant, diverse, welcoming community.