Equity, Sustainability and Resilience

Environmental Justice and Equitable Reinvestment

Collaboration Brings African American Heritage Center Stage in Park Redesign – Raleigh, North Carolina

Situation

John Chavis Memorial Park, built in 1937, was the only park of its size and programming in the southeast for African Americans during segregation. Over the past few decades, the park has fallen into disrepair. In 2012, the City of Raleigh asked Skeo to facilitate a master planning process – the Chavis Park Community Conversation – to kick start the park’s revitalization.

Solution

Skeo started the 18-month multi-stakeholder dialogue with cultural competence and collaborative problem-solving training to equip the Public Leadership Group with skills to navigate complex discussions about the City of Raleigh’s historical racial divide. We listened carefully to community goals and concerns, and then crafted design scenarios to help stakeholders reach consensus outcomes.

Outcomes

In May 2014, Raleigh City Council voted to unanimously adopt the revised master plan for John Chavis Memorial Park. The park has since been placed on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places and the City of Raleigh honored the Public Leadership Group with an Environmental Stewardship Award. Detailed design efforts for park improvements are underway.

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“You must do the things you think you cannot do.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt