A community-based initiative that revitalized an underserved neighborhood

The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), a Boston community-based organization, empowered residents to revitalize a depressed neighborhood. With nearly 2,000 members, DSNI includes residents of the Roxbury and Dorchester areas near downtown and representatives of local social service agencies, businesses, and other community organizations. In its mission to reclaim the neighborhood, it purchased vacant land, established a community land trust, and replaced vacant lots and deteriorated buildings with affordable housing units, parks and playgrounds, businesses, and community facilities.

The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative is a premier example of strikingly participatory, consensus-based decision making on complex community issues.

1995 Selection Committee

DSNI is an extraordinary example of grassroots, bottom-up organizing. To carry out its comprehensive revitalization plan, it partnered with philanthropists, government officials, banks, businesses, and community development organizations to reverse decades of neglect and disinvestment in this area of Boston. Its redevelopment efforts put a stop to a series of arson fires, cleaned up derelict sites, and built quality housing with ownership opportunities for low-income families, including 36 units of owner-occupied housing at Winthrop Estates.