The 50th Street Gathering Space is a model for equitable, inclusive community planning. This project’s success is linked to the trust established by City Heights Community Development Corp. over multiple years. City Heights CDC facilitated a community planning process that resulted in solutions and design ideas generated by the community members themselves. These solutions from those closest to the problem are some of the most relevant, sustainable, and empowering.
This community-designed project met a real need: more public gathering space. By converting a blighted, vacant strip of city-owned right-of-way into a place for community, the 50th Street Gathering Space offers seating for 16 at four tables, three with the tabletop game of Laadhu, a Somali favorite. Plus, across the street, local artist Haadi Mohamed and mural mentor Siks installed a 250’ wall mural highlighting images of Somali culture. These artists grew up and live in this community. When the mural, infrequently, gets tagged, Haadi immediately paints it out himself. Our planning process designed community ownership into the process to achieve ambitious and far-reaching goals that advance safety, equity, and community cohesion: