Jackson Ward - Current Projects
Impacts of Housing & Highway Projects
Post-Reconstruction Era, “Jackson Ward” was created as a political boundary meant to neutralize the new voting power of the recently emancipated Blacks. Jackson Ward was known as “Black Wall Street” and “Harlem of the South” due to the thriving Black businesses and entertainment venues located throughout Jackson Ward. During its heyday from the 1920s through the 1940s, Jackson Ward was one of the most active and well-known centers of African-American life throughout the U.S., and the hub of black professional and entrepreneurial activities in the city and the state.
Urban renewal or “slum clearance” & highway projects, largely funded by state & federal programs, altered the socio-spatial landscape of many U.S. cities throughout the 20th Century. Richmond, Virginia utilized this funding and eminent domain in many of the older areas of the city at the expense of the mostly black communities living there. Overlaying outlines of the block configurations from 1924 Sanborn Insurance Maps over today’s infrastructure shows how much the urban landscape was changed.
1) Public Housing: Gilpin Court
- Built in 1942, expanded in 1957 and 1970
- Funded by United States Housing Act of 1937
- First public housing site in Richmond
- First instance of slum clearance in Richmond
- Altered street network
- Displaced 100s of black residents of Apostle Town neighborhood
2) Highway Construction: Interstate 95/64
- Built in 1955
- Funded by Commonwealth of Virginia
- Displaced 10% of city’s black population at the time
- Physically split once-thriving black neighborhood Jackson Ward
- Destroyed dozens of mixed-use streets and completely disrupted street network
- Decentralized the city and incentivized white flight to the suburbs
Jackson Ward Community Plan
The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development awarded a $450,000 Choice Neighborhood planning grant to RRHA and the City of Richmond to initiate a community planning process for Gilpin Court and Jackson Ward. The Reconnecting Jackson Ward Feasibility Study will help determine solutions to physically re-connect Jackson Ward and Gilpin Court. The Community Plan will explore land use, housing, community engagement, and other strategies to reach a shared vision for the future of Jackson Ward and the transformation of Gilpin Court. We will start the community planning process in 2022. The primary City point of contact for the Jackson Ward Community Plan project is Maritza Pechin. Please contact her if you have any questions: Maritza.Pechin@rva.gov.
Reconnect Jackson Ward
The Virginia Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment (OIPI), in coordination with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the City of Richmond, has officially launched the Reconnect Jackson Ward Feasibility Study. The Community Visioning phase is now underway. Visit www.ReconnectJacksonWard.com to learn more about the study and participate in shaping Jackson Ward’s future!
If you have any questions/comments about this project please contact Yessenia Revilla, 804-646-3409, firstname.lastname@example.org