CPDC and Communities Together. Growing and Thriving (2011 – Present)
Tribute #14 – Our Community Building Model: Engaging Residents at Edgewood Terrace
For many years, Edgewood Terrace was segregated. As a campus with four buildings separated by fences and its residents further isolated given issues of race, age, culture and language, it became difficult for the community to unite. In April 2013, CPDC partnered with residents to create the community they envisioned for themselves. From a simple vision, and with months of partnership and collaboration, the dream of One Edgewood was becoming a reality through the creation of a partnership model called the ONE Edgewood Network.
The ONE Edgewood Network is the formation of intentional spaces, practices, and opportunities for mutual exchange, supportive relationships, and collaborative action in the Edgewood community. It is a network that connects resident to resident, resident to neighbor, and resident to CPDC staff and property management, with the ultimate goals of removing barriers, building trust, and enhancing residents’ quality of life.
In just two short years, residents have started taking more of a leadership role in impacting positive outcomes in their community. One example of a resident-led initiative that was a direct outcome of CPDC’s resident engagement efforts is “Music in the Gardens.” This annual event brings together CPDC staff, residents, volunteers, partners, and members of the broader Edgewood community for a day filled with music, food, games, and fun.
“The segregation throughout the community was very prevalent [before the ONE Edgewood Network]” said Antoinette Gaskins, Edgewood resident. “Music in the Gardens is an avenue that brought residents together from across many generations to improve the community.”
Another initiative designed to engage residents and create a community appreciation is Network Night. Network Night was conceptualized by Frankie Blackburn of Trusted Space, and is co-facilitated by CPDC resident services staff. On any given night, residents have an opportunity to exchange value (e.g., information, hobbies, interests, etc.) and host conversations on topics that are important to them (e.g., neighborhood safety, health and wellness, etc.)
“True community is the process of deep respect and true listening to the needs of the other people in [the] community,” described Scott Peck, American psychiatrist and best-selling author of The Road Less Traveled.
Through the collective efforts of many, a campus that was once divided is now becoming a true community rich in development opportunities, resident assets, and shared resources. CPDC’s resident engagement efforts demonstrate how concerted efforts to break down barriers in a community not only help build trust, but gives residents a voice and a role in co-creating a shared vision for their community.