Why We Love Roxbury
For DREAM Collaborative principal Gregory Minott, the connection to Roxbury is personal.
“As a transplant from another state (and from another country before that), Roxbury felt like the closest thing to my Jamaican roots, with neighborhood amenities such Tropical Foods, cultural events at Hibernian Hall, and an active Caribbean community. Roxbury is home to lively small businesses providing diverse ethnic products. Also, my first avenue in civic engagement was serving as the design chair for Dudley Square Main Streets,” said Minott.
In fact, it was a 2008 design competition for the redevelopment of Dudley Square that kicked off Greg’s professional attachment to Roxbury. Greg’s team won the Best Building Award in that competition and never looked back. Today, DREAM has many clients in Roxbury who draw us deeper into this richly diverse, historic urban neighborhood.
What are Roxbury’s key challenges?
Redevelopment has been slower to come to Roxbury than to other neighborhoods so close to downtown. Part of problem is transportation. Currently, the Orange line is the only train service that comes to Roxbury and it doesn’t serve the whole neighborhood. Crime remains an issue. Though statistics show that crime is on the decline, the perception of Roxbury as potentially unsafe place remains.
Disproportionately high levels of subsidized and public housing as well as increasing housing prices paired with stagnant income levels makes it very challenging for Roxbury residents to become homeowners. Developers struggle to build profitable residential projects that existing residents can afford. For developers who are not familiar with the neighborhood, the many active neighborhood groups can mean additional redevelopment challenges. Our experience has been that with the right team, we can leverage the wisdom of the community to benefit the project and the neighborhood as a whole.
What should the future look like for Roxbury?
- The future needs to start with protecting and enhancing what makes Roxbury great in the first place: the people who live and work there, history, cultural heritage, diversity, and the small business anchors of the local economy.
- The future must include major improvements in the public realm and infrastructure for existing residents including parks, roads, and high-speed public transportation.
- Roxbury will benefit greatly from locally-focused investment that provides quality housing including affordable and market-rate rental and increased homeownership, as well as economic opportunities for families and residents at all income levels.
Learn more about our work in Roxbury including 16 new residences at 2451 Washington Street, a mission-driven commercial building for Dorchester Bay EDC, a wellness and fitness club for Whittier Street Health Center, and the new Museum of the National Center for Afro-American Artists coming to the Tremont Crossing mixed-use development.