Breaking Ground: Freedom House Community Center HQ

July 20, 2016 – 

Representatives from DREAM Collaborative and Janey Construction joined Mayor Martin J. Walsh to celebrate the ground breaking for Freedom House’s new community center headquarters. The project transforms the single-story, 8,440 sf Grove Hall Library building at 5 Crawford Street in Dorchester with an interior fit-out including office, technology lab, and teaching spaces, as well as envelope and roof repairs to the existing structure. The new facility will meet LEED standards for certification including high energy efficiency systems and materials, resulting in significantly reduced operating costs. Freedom House is a non-profit organization that provides youth programs aimed at transforming the economic and cultural fabric of high-need communities through education and leadership development.

Read more about the ground breaking at Freedom House at the City of Boston’s web site.  A rendering of the new facility can be seen here.

AIA’s 2016 Report on Diversity

Earlier this year, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) published a report on Diversity in the Profession of Architecture.

The AIA’s report concludes that, while improving, women and people of color continue to be underrepresented in the field.

Contributing Factors

According to the AIA’s survey, the key factors that contribute to the under-representation of people of color include:

  • difficulty affording the costs associated with a degree in architecture
  • few role models in architecture
  • knowledge of architecture as a career option.

The top factors cited for the under-representation of women were related to work-life balance and include long hours that make starting a family difficult and lack of flexibility related to schedules, job sharing, or working remotely.

Both women and people of color say they are less likely to be promoted to more senior positions. Gender and race are also obstacles to equal pay for comparable positions, but this is particularly so for women.

Strategies

Both women and people of color in architecture would benefit from:

  • industry-funded scholarships
  • mentorship programs
  • clear written criteria for promotion
  • attracting more women professors and professors of color to teach in architecture programs.

According to the report, additional strategies for addressing the under-representation of people of color in architecture could include: outreach to middle and high school students and industry support for the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA).

The top strategies for addressing the under-representation of women in the profession are promoting a change in culture that allows for better work-life balance and increasing options for flexibility.

Read the full report: AIA_DiversitySurvey_2016

New Partnership: MPDC

Dream Collaborative has kicked off a new partnership with Madision Park Development Corporation (MPDC) of Roxbury. The project at 2451 Washington Street consists of a 21-unit multifamily condominium building, supported by 23 surface parking spaces, and 6 townhouse condominium units with garage parking included in the unit. These two parts of the development will be connected by landscaped open space and garden areas. The project will bring job and home ownership opportunities for the community and will contribute to the continued revitalization of the Dudley Square neighborhood.

MPDC_logo
MPDC’s mission is to develop and preserve quality, mixed-income housing in Roxbury, and to promote the renaissance of Dudley Square as a thriving neighborhood business district, recognized as a center of commerce and culture that anchors the economic revitalization of Roxbury. DREAM Collaborative is proud to play a role in this important work.

End of Year Celebration

On Wednesday, December 9th DREAM Collaborative celebrated the season with an open house and networking event in our new, larger office space. Thank you to all of our colleagues, clients, and friends who attended and made the evening a success. A special thanks also to City Councilor Tito Jackson for joining us and for the inspirational words. We look forward to another year of engaging urban redevelopment work in 2016. Happy holidays and cheers to a wonderful new year ahead!

See Us Here: Supplier Diversity Best Practices Forum

DREAM Collaborative principal, Gregory Minott, will be one of the featured speakers at the 2015 Supplier Diversity Best Practices Forum at Fenway Park on Wednesday, November 18th from 8am to 12 noon. Presented by the Boston MBDA Business Center, GNEMSDC, and the Center for Women & Enterprise, the purpose of the 7th Annual event is two-fold: (1) provide tools and resources for women and minority-owned firms to grow their businesses, and (2) provide the necessary information for public and private sector leaders to implement or enhance their organization’s supplier diversity program.

Speakers include: Ronald Walker (Secretary of Labor, Commonwealth of Massachusetts), Raul Suarez-Rodriguez (CVS Health), Tatiana Paredes (St. Francis Hospital & Medical Center), Gregory Minott (DREAM Collaborative), Jennie Peterson (Wynn MA, LLC), Roy Pederson (Jacobs), Reggie Nunnally (Massachusetts Diversity Coalition) & others!

New Mixed-Income Housing Coming to Charlestown

DREAM Collaborative is pleased to announce a new project! We will be joining forces with Stantec / ADD Inc.  to replace 1,100 units of housing in Charlestown with up to 3,000 units of mixed-income residential, including 600 units of elderly housing. The clients for the project are Corcoran Jennison and the national developer SunCal. See our Portfolio for the latest project information as well as this Boston Globe article.

Corcoran-SunCal

View down Monument Street toward the Bunker Hill Monument

Jhana Senxian on Four Corners Innovation Center

Jhana Senxian is the Founder and CEO of the Sustainability Guild, a direct action network of urban residents who re-imagine and redevelop their communities. Jhana is a social anthropologist and entrepreneur who hails from Boston’s Grove Hall community. She’s actively changing the systems which lead to social problems in the urban core.

She spent a year at the VDC developing her Vision-in-Action concept which has resulted in a partnership with Third Sector New England, a non-profit sector capacity builder with a pattern of putting its resources and experience behind shifting power and supporting social justice work. The co-development team joined forces to acquire and transform the warehouse building at 260 Washington Street into a 70,000 sf showcase of social enterprise. In addition to the building development, the plan includes the transition of a +42,000 sf urban wild into the Washington Street Food Forest. The green oasis and vibrant destination reflective of community needs and desires, is sure to shift the conversations around local economies, resilience and innovation.

260-Washington-Rendering-IILocated just a five minute walk from the new Four Corners/Geneva MBTA station along the Fairmount/Indigo Corridor, the hope is that the building will serve not only as a catalyst for the revitalization of the Washington Street Corridor but also as a scalable and replicable model for community leadership, asset creation and investment that shifts paradigms of power, access and cross-sector partnership.

We asked Jhana…

  1. Q: When will the space open?

Weaving together the ideas, capital and the community to make this a reality is no small feat — but the enthusiastic response has been phenomenal. Our goal is to have over 85% of the businesses owned and led by people of color from our inner city neighborhoods. We want the project itself — at all levels — to model that vision of community voice and leadership.

This will mean a different kind of alliance creation and take serious investment in capacity building and making certain that we have absolutely aligned missions amongst the partners. Our partnership with TSNE models this with their investment in a pretty radical vision of shifting power by putting their resources and rallying their network and peers behind this kind of direct action and investment in this project and in the Guild itself. We have a very aggressive desired timeline to open in late 2017 and we know that this is super optimistic – but that’s what this project is all about.

Q: What kind of businesses do you envision?

First and foremost, this venue will showcase businesses that cumulatively make up a dynamic food hub. From a worker and community owned food coop, cultural farm-to-table restaurants, and healthy cafes – to a rooftop farm, aggregation and distribution service, and robust programming connected to the 1 acre food forest, we will get to incubate the very best ideas around healthy, delicious eating along the whole food supply chain.

Next, the building itself will not only be an example of green building/clean energy tech demonstration — but also a site for green infrastructure learning, training and business development. We are currently working on some very exciting pilots to deliver the very best quality food in truly accessible and responsive ways – while creating community-led businesses along the way.

Additionally, we will have over 10,000 sf of space dedicated to wellness, healing and cultural businesses. The space will host a 300-500 seat performance venue as well as be an exhibition space for art. Our community partners are bringing extremely interesting business concepts to the table that address diverse aspects of health, creative expression and social connection.

There will also be over 14,000 sf of office and co-working space — and we are working on getting some long needed retail banking services into the building, as well. In all, there will be over 17,000 sf of event and educational space so that every element of the building has the opportunity to expose folks to new knowledge, culture and skill sharing.

Q: Why is your vision of innovation best for the neighborhood?

Because it is not my vision alone. Everything we do at the Guild is the result of collective community voice, talent, interest and action. This brick and mortar project is an extension of the very same process and experience that we enact across all of our work. We start with the absolute belief in the beauty, strength and talent within our community. We choose to be powered by that beauty, strength and talent and that leads the vision and action of our cross-sector partnerships. Therefore, who designs, who builds — who feels ownership of a project and experience such as this, matters as much aswhat we are trying to build.

This is what we mean by holistic and culturally integrated Vision-in-Action — and this is key. We know from our experience on the ground and from market studies that our neighbors would love to spend their time and money on socio-culturally positive amenities and experiences in their community that have the ability to elevate not only quality of life but also social consciousness and connection.

Q: Did your experience at the VDC influence your vision?

My experience at the VDC was extremely positive because I was introduced to an ecosystem of supportive peers and mentors who genuinely understood why the status quo conversations about innovation across our city and region left me deeply unsatisfied and passionate to explore other approaches. Folks at the VDC recognized that the Vision-in-Action work was my passion and as a result, I found the courage — and enthusiastic support — to drastically shift direction, follow my instincts and leverage my experience to create my own path and approach for positive impact.

Too often city driven innovation focuses on pleasing a narrow demographic of technology workers. Enlivening a city’s brand this way is tempting, but energizing its entire population by focusing on neighborhood stabilization, investing in community leadership and investing in social enterprise and local asset creation, is even better. Keep an eye on 260 Washington Street because that’s the vision. And knowing Jhana, it will be transformative for current residents, the neighborhood and a model for our city — and others.

Grand Opening!

DREAM Collaborative was happy to celebrate the Grand Opening of the new Wellness & Fitness Club at Whittier Street Health Center (WSHC) on June 27, 2015. Mayor Martin J. Walsh officiated the well-attended event that marked a significant achievement for WSHC, the project team, and the community.

Above from left: Jason Grinacoff of Chapman Construction, DREAM Collaborative Principal Troy Depeiza, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, DREAM Collaborative Principal Gregory Minott, and WSHC Facilities Manager Jean Vatelia.

WSHC Press Release:

Boston Health Center Aims to Improve Life Expectancy for Urban Residents Opens New Fitness Center and Community Garden

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh to officiate at Grand Opening on June 27

BOSTON, June 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — It is now well known that the census tract with the lowest life expectancy in Boston is in Roxbury, the urban neighborhood where the average resident lives just 58.9 years. Three miles away, in the toney upscale Back Bay, the average life expectancy is 91.9 years – a 33-year age difference.

Much of the disparity in life expectancy in neighborhoods in Boston, and other urban communities across the country, is determined by differences in access to medical care, diet and opportunities for exercise and fitness activities. Whittier Street Health Center, one of Boston’s leading community health centers, is aiming to change these startling statistics with the opening of its new Wellness and Fitness Club, on Saturday, June 27.  Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh will preside at the Grand Opening.

The new 6,600-square-foot Whittier Wellness and Fitness Club, a much-needed onsite fitness center, will be one of the most comprehensive of its type in the region, located in a culturally diverse community.   It will offer a broad array of services and activities, ranging from a physical fitness coach, exercise machines, classes in aerobics, yoga and Zumba, a life coach, and a pediatric healthy weight coordinator.   The launch of the Wellness and Fitness Club comes on the heels of the opening of the center’s Community Garden on week earlier.  The garden, tended to by volunteers from the neighborhood, will improve residents’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the community and offer a relaxing space in an urban neighborhood.

“Our new Wellness and Fitness Club will address the disparities in health in diverse communities, in particular the challenges people of color face in getting and staying healthy,” said Frederica M. Williams, President and CEO of the Whittier Street Health Center. “The Wellness and Fitness Club will offer members an opportunity to get actively involved in their health in a variety of methods so that they can be healthy, feel great and reach their wellness and fitness goals.”

The Health Center is taking a revolutionary approach to addressing heath disparities.  Patients can request a Prescription for Health from their Primary Care Physician, Psychiatrist or Bay State Physical Therapist.  Each prescription will be tailored to their individual needs.   The program can include a configuration of prescribed services, such as yoga, dance, nutritional tips, physical fitness, life coaching or acupuncture. A Life Coach will meet with the patient to formulate their Prescription for Health, schedule attendance among the activity groups, and incorporate nutrition groups and acupuncture.  Patients of the Whittier can become members of the new Wellness and Fitness Club on a month-to-month basis for just $10 per month.

The opening of the Wellness and Fitness Club will also mark the 15th anniversary of the health center’s annual Men’s Health Summit, which is free and open to all.

The Men’s Health Summit, which will honor seven men from different walks of life with the center men’s health champion award, is an opportunity to illustrate the importance of educating men and their families to take control of their health—physically, mentally, emotionally and socially.  Dr. Gene Lindsey, CEO Emeritus of Atrius Health, will serve as keynote speaker of the Summit.  In addition to the Wellness and Fitness Center, the Whittier Street Health Center offers high quality, reliable and accessible primary healthcare and support services.

About Whittier Street Health Center (www.wshc.org)

Whittier Street Health Center is a Joint Commission accredited, private, non-profit, independently licensed community health center dedicated to providing high quality, reliable and accessible primary healthcare and support services for diverse populations to promote wellness and eliminate health and social disparities. Serving more than 25,000 clients with approximately 100,000 clinic visits and 20,000 community outreach visits annually, Whittier has a patient base that is ethnically and racially diverse. Whittier provides a comprehensive array of 40 healthcare programs and services designed to meet the primary health care, behavioral health and social needs of the community. Whittier is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a level 3 (highest level) patient-centered medical home.

Learn more at www.wshc.org.

Smith Baker Center

Lowell, Massachusetts – The Smith Baker Center is an existing 23,500 sf historic building in downtown Lowell currently in hosting arts, entertainment, performance and other uses.  The Coalition for a Better Acre (CBA) is proposing to redevelop the building into a mixed-use community center to serve as a much needed amenity in the neighborhood and will celebrate local icons such as Jack Kerouac and foster partnerships with community leaders such as the University of Massachusetts to create innovative programming for the building. The Smith Baker Center was formally known as the First Congregation Church which opened in 1884. DREAM Collaborative was hired by CBA to lead the team that has evaluated the existing conditions of the building and will restore the exterior and most of the interior of the building with a new design on the ground floor that will serve local businesses and non-profits.

Client:  Coalition for a Better Acre

Service:  Architecture, Interior Architecture, Historic Preservation

Meet Us Here

DREAM Collaborative is proud to sponsor the upcoming Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation event, Evolving Dorchester, honoring Jeanne DuBois on Thursday, September 10, 2015. We hope to see you there!

Dorchester Bay EDC acts to build a strong, thriving, and diverse community in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhoods. They offer assistance in three broad categories: housing, economic development, and resident initiatives/community organizing.