civic engagement in “the projects”

I was in New York City today, meeting with people who help young

people play serious roles in HUD’s HOPE VI program. This is the program

that tears down very troubled federal housing projects—usually dense clusters

of crime-ridden high-rises—and replaces them with more dispersed, small-scale,

economically diverse housing. In quite a few HOPE VI sites across the country,

young people from "the projects" are participating in planning, mapping

assets, or starting "social entrepreneurship programs" such as micro-businesses

and farmers markets. These are powerful stories and there’s a lot of potential

for more good work in HOPE VI sites.