"Growing Community Assets in Gulfport, Mississippi "

Mississippi Center for Justice
Rae Zimmerman and Kei Hayashi
"Molly Brantz, Tara Duvivier, Emre Edev, Peter James Kralovec, John Thomas Saunders"

"Hurricane Katrina devastated whole communities along the Gulf Coast. The storm was particularly damaging to traditionally marginalized neighborhoods in Gulfport, MS, that have long struggled to capitalize upon their assets. The Mississippi Center for Justice, a public interest law firm, advocates on behalf of these neighborhoods in the post­Katrina planning and redevelopment process. Soria City and The Quarters, two predominantly African­American neighborhoods with rich historical legacies, are especially in need of community planning resources. The Capstone team conducted a comprehensive lot­by­lot parcel inventory survey (804 total property lots) of these areas, identifying land uses, physical structure, architectural style, and historical narratives. The team converted this data into a web­based geocoded database capable of GIS manipulation. Relying upon this database, the team delivered a best practices community development guidebook for both communities, tailoring an array of private and public programs to meet local needs. The Capstone team identified eight topic areas for community development: housing preservation and rehabilitation; infrastructure; youth work­force development; organizational capacity; small business incubation; cultural tourism; greenway development; and logistical solutions. "