The Urban Village, And T he People Who Call It Home A Study of the Urban Village Townhomes in City Heights, San Diego. Lisi Alegría Martínez-Manriquez , University of California, San Diego, Urban Studies and Planning Program. Findings. Inside the Urban Village. Abstract.
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The Urban Village, And The People Who Call It HomeA Study of the Urban Village Townhomes in City Heights, San Diego Lisi AlegríaMartínez-Manriquez, University of California, San Diego, Urban Studies and Planning Program Findings Inside the Urban Village Abstract Built in 2003, the Urban Village Townhomes in City Heights were an addition to neighborhood revitalization efforts headed by Price Charities. In one of San Diego’s lowest income and most diverse communities, Sol Price decided to make a colossal commitment to the neighborhood and as a result, City Heights has since boomed with new businesses, heightened security, improved education, and of course, more affordable housing. My research explores the lives of 11 families and individuals living in the Urban Village Townhomes who have been affected by these initiatives to improve the quality of lives of City Heights residents. This study shows that the Urban Village Townhomes development model of having mixed income housing and numerous resident services provides a learning opportunity for new and existing affordable housing developments in City Heights and similar neighborhoods. While the overwhelming majority of the residents noted considerable improvements in various aspects of their lives, the research also concludes that resident services are greatly underutilized and could be improved and made more efficient. The most interesting finding was the use of the community service program which Price Charities implemented in the housing development. This innovative approach to housing subsidies has had great success in the Urban Village Townhomes and therefore provides a unique opportunity for countless charitable and non-profit organizations to improve the welfare of their residents and their communities. The research findings demonstrate that on average, residents are satisfied with their current living environment and feel extremely secure, resulting in extended periods of stay. It also shows that a great majority of the families that qualify for the Community Service program either use it regularly, or have used it in the past. The extremely small percentage of residents utilizing the employment services provided is misleading; most residents showed interest in the program but had no idea it was offered. Research Question Recommendations Affordable and subsidized housing as a means to uplift and revitalize a neighborhood is becoming more prevalent than ever before, but what are the direct benefits to the residents living in these developments, and how can public programs assist these communities? Purpose of Study The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of the Urban Village model by assessing the resident services utilized and the quality of life of the residents. With more affordable housing currently underway, it is significant to evaluate how this development could be improved. The results of this research are invaluable; it demonstrated how vital the Community Service Program is to this community, and builds the case against eliminating it from the services offered. Conclusion Research on the Urban Village Townhomes demonstrates that the village has unique attributes that have been mastered, such as extreme security, and other attributes that have tremendous potential. Although the future of the Community Service Program remains unsure, it is an innovative way to create rent subsidies while simultaneously serving the community, and it should be expanded beyond the Urban Village development. Research Method Eleven households were interviewed and I administered a brief survey to each. During the interview, I noted which resident services were utilized and valued the most, and which services the residents felt were lacking. Comparative questions were also asked in order to assess the improvement in housing these residents experienced upon moving to the Urban Village Townhomes. March 10th, 2011