Co Baton Rouge
With approximately 800,000 residents, Baton Rouge -the capital of Louisiana- is a city that is spatially stratified by race and income. Although most white areas benefit from higher quality housing, amenities and transportation facilities, this is much less the case in black areas. One typical example illustrating the social and economic challenges is the Plank Road corridor, a four-mile length commercial road flanked with mainly commercial land uses, and with residential uses in the intersecting side streets and extending for several blocks in either direction. Even if some of the parts of this commercial road are still practicable, most of the sides are a mixture of abandoned businesses, derelict buildings and vacant lots mirroring the impoverishment of the area and that set the scene for an increasing number of violent crimes. However the place is still a reference for the surrounding neighborhoods and was therefore chosen as an experimentation ground for co-revitalization based on the co-city approach.
Along with the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority (EBBRA), LabGov Georgetown and the Marron Institute are working on a project to revitalize the Plank Road corridor. The project started out with a focus on transit-oriented projects, aiming at tackling high public transit ridership correlated with the highest concentration of zero car households. The Co-City approach, and notably the Co-City Cycle – cheap talking, mapping, practicing, prototyping, testing, and modeling – experimented in other cities are being adopeted to progress towards the objectives, which are set in two times: first neighborhood implementation and then a widened scale.
In the first phases of the project, that took place in 2019, the Co-City team has been able to identify some strategic projects in response to the expressed desires of the community. Some of these projects, such as the Community Land Bank and Community EcoParks, are on the horizon for 2020 whereas others have a longer runway.
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