Writers Room was selected as one of the 70 finalists being considered for ArtPlace America’s 2017 National Creative Placemaking Fund. Our proposed project, Writers House, will provide a model for inclusive community and act as a catalyst for equitable development in response to gentrification and urban town-gown divides.

With all of the current and future development planned around the Mantua, Powelton Village, and Drexel communities, how might longtime residents contribute to and benefit from ongoing changes in their neighborhood? Our proposal is aimed at actionable responses to this question. We want to construct a house on the street—a cooperative home, with adjoining publics space, where students and community members live, eat, and write together. Our purposefully integrated housing will serve as think tank and commons for civil discourse during this time of upheaval and growth, a catalyst in our city, and a model beyond.

At the center of our proposal is the perennial university/community conundrum: how can more resources = better access + stronger community? The answer has to come from within—from those affected by the changes: students + neighbors.

We believe in circling back—in moving forward from a strong center, and that center is all about sitting down at the table together. We first built a room around the table. Now we want to build a house around that room, and a porch that lets that table open out onto the street…

Read more about ArtPlace America’s 2017 finalists here. Learn more about the Writers House project in the video below, courtesy of our friends over at Melodius Thunk Productions.