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Twenty years of work, representing seven new communities and more than 700 new dwellings have transformed much of Stamford’s Westside neighborhood into a stable, economically balanced area that nurtures family-friendly living, while stimulating economic renewal. The communities are a model for the revitalization of the residential urban fabric of Connecticut’s inner cities, fulfilling residents’ deep desire for a “home.”
Selected by the Stamford Housing Authority, now Charter Oak Communities, Newman created a master planning vision to renew neighborhood living west of the Mill River, providing affordable housing for low- and moderate-income working families, market-rate housing, supportive housing, and home ownership opportunities. Significant about all the projects was gaining community trust and buy-in from people who had little confidence in what was going to happen to them. Development in phases allowed temporary relocation of residents, ultimately making places for all who wanted to return.
The designs, mostly American domestic vernacular in style and knitting neatly within the architectural language of the larger community, incorporate community-building principles of New Urbanism--creation of safe, pedestrian-friendly streets and public spaces, as well as lower density housing. Most dwellings—townhomes and apartments—provide tenants their own front doors for safety and individuality. Amenities like backyards, community gardens and centers, and some mixed-use retail and clinics add to neighborhood vitality. One significant impact is a partnership among Charter Oaks, Stamford Health System and the City of Stamford for a health and well-being spine along Stillwater Avenue-the West Sides shopping corridor.