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Reflecting on Black History Month 2024

As we conclude Black History Month 2024, we have had the chance to reflect on the Black leaders, communities, and stories we have been fortunate to learn from and work with. So, on these last three days of Black History Month, we’ll share updates on work recently completed or underway that were transformed by the significant contributions of African Americans in the past, present, and future.


While we have always been lovers of great stories, we appreciate hearing (or seeing!) them as much as telling them ourselves. We’re grateful for many recent opportunities to share Black lived experiences in partnerships with Black storytellers. Here are a few stories told through engagement, planning and design.

As part of the Franklin Park Action Plan, a pop-up photography booth with photographer Sahar Coston-Hardy and Reed Hilderbrand captured park users celebrating an evening in Franklin Park with family and friends. Both a form of storytelling and a celebration with the community to honor shared hard work on the Action Plan, the stories informed a deeper understanding of people and how they shape, and re-shape, place.

At Latta Place in Mecklenburg County, we are just beginning to think about the future of this 13-acre homestead and plantation with an emphasis on surfacing truth, centering the narrative on Black history and experience, and expanding programming. The work includes a steering committee of leaders, advocates, and allied organizations.

In collaboration with DREAM Collaborative, we contributed planning and design for the public realm of the P3 development site in Roxbury. The work envisions P3 as a key site within a broader city-wide Black Heritage Trail.


Today, we are thinking about the many Black communities and spaces that make their cities more vibrant, inclusive, and whole.

Raleigh’s Moore Square has long been a cherished open space that played an important role as part of the City’s “Black Main Street.” According to a recent Landscape Performance Series study, the redesign (led by Gina while a principal at Sasaki) welcomes longer dwell times in the park, increases perception of safety, and has reduced crime incidents.

Imagine Your Parks 3 is a planning process to establish an equitable open space strategy for BREC (Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge), a community made of nearly half Black residents. Extensive community visioning and staff feedback is underway now, with Agency as the lead, and is pointing to the importance of parks and recreation in region experiencing hotter days.

Detroit’s Brightmoor Area Plan is a plan for an area Northwest Detroit that includes 12 neighborhoods with diverse levels of occupancy and vacant public land. The community-driven effort is focused on economic development and housing, connectivity, arts and culture and green infrastructure strategies.


We wrap up Black History Month by recognizing a few examples of excellence in transformational projects that were made possible by Black voices and leadership.

The Boston Design Vision, a “first of its kind” project, is one part research study and one part call to action. The Design Vision seeks to leverage Boston’s future growth toward more inclusive and beautiful outcomes. Led by a handful of transformational leaders at the City and a 100% MBE and/or WBE-led design team, the vision is founded on the ideas from many of the city’s most diverse communities, including historically Black neighborhoods.

The Parrott Creek Family Services project is a multi-year effort to provide trauma-informed design services for a facility dedicated to adjudicated youth. The project is spearheaded by a woman-and black-owned development company, Adre, that is dedicated to equitable development.

The Albina Vision Community Investment Plan – led and stewarded by the incredible team at the Albina Vision Trust Inc. (AVT) – is a framework for an inclusive future neighborhood and an inspiring model for communities navigating the impacts of urban renewal. The AVT team can do anything – follow them and watch! We are thrilled to continue supporting AVT and project lead Eldorado Architects to achieve their goals.