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Friendship Court in Charlottesville, VA
Green and Affordable Working Together
The National Housing Trust/Enterprise Preservation Corporation, partnering with locally-based Piedmont Housing Alliance, successfully saved 150 units of affordable housing in the rapidly gentrifying City of Charlottesville, VA. Residents’ housing was threatened on two fronts: sitting only two blocks from Charlottesville’s historic walking mall, apartments were vulnerable to market-rate rents and condominium-conversion, as well as being in need of substantial renovation. The renovation of this property prevented the displacement of residents in an area where affordable housing is scarce.
The renovation of Friendship Court marked NHT/Enterprise’s first large-scale green preservation project. Retrofitting the property involved a wide range of energy-saving and environmentally sensitive products and techniques, including energy efficient windows, and water-saving front-loading washers and dryers. The community’s children helped transform a little-used parking area into a park by planting new flowers and greenery. This green approach has resulted in lower utility and maintenance costs, as well as a more livable and attractive property.
|Young residents plant tomatoes at Friendship Court's urban farm.|
The highlight of the green redevelopment of Friendship Court was the addition of an urban farm. Residents and neighbors take part in the planting and cultivation of various crops in their own backyard. The free food is enjoyed by residents or distributed to other low-income communities throughout the city. In addition to promoting environmental sustainability, the presence of the urban farm fosters community building and improves the overall health of Charlottesville's low-income citizens through nutritional awareness.
The urban farm is a project of the Quality Community Council's
Urban Agriculture Project.