community more equitable
what we could become
if we increased housing choices, density, and investment: a model of equality, opportunity, and livability
live400: community more equitable
Quality affordable housing is springing up in neighborhoods that have needed new investment; factories and mill buildings, once abandoned, are becoming housing and offices; but many communities still suffer from lack of equity and opportunity. We must aim to become more equitable by the time of our 400th anniversary. We have significant strengths in our towns, neighborhoods, and institutions. We must harness them to promote and protect human dignity. We must emphasize connecting our town centers and assets rather than hardening the divisions of our town lines. We should aim to ensure equitable and affordable access to safe, high-quality housing, schools, food, parks, and services, in every town and neighborhood.
Areas of Focus: Health/Housing, Safety/Schools, Equity/Opportunity
Equity & Opportunity
- Reference Greater Hartford Community Wellbeing Index 2019: This document provides key indicators of social progress, economic opportunity, and population well-being in Greater Hartford neighborhoods. It was produced by DataHaven in partnership with HFPG, and can be used to develop key strategies.
- Spread opportunity more equitably: The Valley one of wealthiest in the country, but large disparities in equality and opportunity remain. Those disparities are confined mostly to urban areas, often with concentrations of people of color. Attention should be paid holistically to all communities, towns and neighborhoods in order to better connect, better highlight and give attention to the assets, challenges and opportunities faced in each of them.
- Maximize social and economic benefits of Opportunity Zones: Develop planning and promotional materials, working with local universities and non-profits, to highlight the investment and development opportunities within the Zones which promise the greatest social and economic benefit to the local communities and region as a whole.
Resources: Greater Hartford Community Wellbeing Index (DataHaven 2019), Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CRCOG 2019)
Health & Housing
- Provide more equity and choice in housing: The Valley has an overabundance of freestanding suburban or exurban houses, with attendant dependency on the private automobile. We must expand the range of options, especially rental apartments and for-sale condominiums located in dense, vibrant urban areas and town centers. This will help with reduced car trips and encourage more transit use, biking, walking, and rideshare. Diversity of housing choices makes a healthier housing market and reduces the extent of high rent burden.
- Accelerate transit-oriented development: Focus on advancing specific projects for Hartford Line and Fastrak station areas, and completing associated public realm improvements. To do this, we must adopt key planning and public policy measures that are now missing, and create a regional fund for TOD.
- Concentrate housing density: Creating focused town and city centers with high-density housing helps contain urban sprawl and leaves low-density areas open and green. We should avoid traffic-generating uses in areas without transit and far from town and city centers.
- Convert brownfield sites to development zones: Continue preparing sites for development, through brownfields remediation and infrastructure projects
- Strengthen the nexus for enhancing overall health: Engage powerhouse hospitals and health institutions and companies, including health insurance providers, to promote better public health; some through policy and economic steps, and others through improved air quality and environmental quality, including access to green open spaces, recreational areas, and water.
Resources: Transit Oriented Development (CRCOG), Metro Hartford TOD – Connecting People, Places, and Jobs (HFPG 2019), Hartford TOD Pilot (ConnDOT/City of Hartford 2018), Hartford Downtown Housing Study (2014), Bushnell South Master Plan (The Bushnell 2019), Downtown North Plan (2017), Hartford Avenue Density Student (City of Hartford/MASS 2018)
Safety & Schools
- Increase public safety and strengthen the public safety net throughout the region: Though we have seen substantial improvement in public safety, some neighborhoods remain highly vulnerable to crime. Departments that are stretched thin should be given greater support to ensure all residents can live safe, comfortable lives wherever they call home. Advance as a national leader in reducing gun violence, an especially appropriate role given the Valley’s history of gun manufacturing.
- Commit to parity of school district performance across the region: Sheff v. O’Neill challenged the Hartford region to look at our school districts differently. Thirty years later, school district performance varies widely town by town, creating disparities in income, health outcomes, and incarceration rates. As home to some of the best performing school districts in the country – as well as innovative magnet schools – the Valley should commit to high standards in all districts, whether through a regional school district or other innovations.