Flashback Spring Forward: Susu Partners & Neighborhood Space

 

Spring is almost here and Susu has BIG NEWS blooming for this season!  A great start in the neighborhood thus far!

Susu has been working with so many great community partners this year and the fruits of the labor have been beautifully rewarding!  Here’s a look back at a short list of the partnerships we are thankful for:

Flashback 1:  This time last year Susu Incubator completed a season of PopUp Markets with a host of incredible local creative and cultural businesses.  We activated vacant spaces throughout Oak Cliff with our unique market style of hand crafted and brand vendors in cultural retail, education and literacy, health/wellness and vegan foods. This popup market model was an effort to prove the economic viability of our ‘low income’ neighborhood.

2015 marked the beginning of partnerships that pushed us forward toward the goal of property ownership and developing a healthy neighborhood business hub.  In January 2015, Susu joined the Small Scale Developers group led by Dallas developer Monte Anderson.  March 2015, Susu vendors gave a presentation to the developers group and answered the question: What would you do with 1000 SF?

The small business owners shared with the developers group their storefront dreams to house jewelry, apparel, home decor and culinary goods.  The vendors talked about the value of space to sell and to teach their craft to others, especially the youth.

Flashback 2: In late 2014, Susu participated in the event Dallas Faces Race (DFR), sponsored in part by the Embrey Family Foundation (EFF) as a forum to address racial equity.  This monumental event introduced Susu to the value of a business coach exemplified through a series of workshops led by Rha Goddess of Move of The Crowd  .  And, most importantly, the DFR sparked a dialogue between Susu and the Embrey Family Foundation about developing space in Susu’s target area of South Oak Cliff to launch a healthy business hub with an initial project focused on food and food security.

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This partnership with the Embrey Family Foundation provided Susu with financial support and  technical assistance partnerships with The Real Estate Council Community Fund to access alternate means to traditional loans and capital to fund the initial development project.

(BIG OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT IN APRIL 2016!!!)

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Spring Forward: One of Susu’s key partnerships is working with our neighborhood association,’Vermont Village’, named by one of the residents and shared dreamer Mathis Perkins.   We have joined the forces of several of the neighborhood associations to form a ‘super neighborhood association’ called Cedar Haven to work in Vermont Village.  So far, we have planned a 4-part series of neighborhood events for the last Saturday of each month.  We started in January 2016 with a tree planting project in which close to 30 oak trees went in the ground down Vermont Avenue.  (Big shout out to Ryan Behring of Grow South Vista, the neighborhood leaders Mathis Perkins, Lester Houston, Jeff and Audrie Mills, Jan Taylor, Tisha Crear and Wana Smith)

Our second event in February brought over 100 volunteers and the Mayor to the neighborhood for a clean-up and to start the mural project.

We are on the move!  Join us this Saturday March 26 for more neighborhood clean-up and Part 2 of the mural.  And, stay tuned for our big spring market and resource event on April 30, 2016!

 

Susu is infinitely thankful to the local vendors that we have had the pleasure to popup market with!  Susu is thankful to the neighborhood and community partners for the working collaborations that are building our community stronger! Thank you EFF and TREC Community Fund!

THANK YOU!!!

It takes a village.

 

 

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DIY Development for Humans

Susu is passionate about responsible neighborhood development.  Our approach is to nurture the vast rich human resource of our neighborhood businesses as a key driver to building community.

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of participating in ‘Small Scale Real Estate Developers BOOT CAMP’.  This camp was the first of many to inspire a new (or old) approach to development led by (one of our favorite Dallas developers) Monte Anderson and the folks from the Congress for New Urbanism.

The boot camp work is igniting an army of new developers to think of their projects as ‘farms’.  We at Susu have called this concept ‘hubs’.  The concept of ‘farming as development’ is a perfect metaphor for the cultivation required to temper the greedy developer monster that displaces communities and cashes in on the generations of legal resource-hoarding that has created ‘under-served communities’.  The distinction trades that deep-pocket gangster tactic in for small-scale or an incremental development approach.

Check the link to this article BY OSCAR PERRY ABELLO to read more >>click here<<.

We couldn’t agree more from this quote from Boot Camp Facilitator, R John Anderson,

“(small scale development) … is a tremendous opportunity for people of color and low-income communities to claim a long-denied share of wealth and opportunity. Inclusiveness is especially critical in an era when cities and close-in suburbs are seeing a trending demand for walkable neighborhoods.

He goes on to say, “The way to make those changes more graceful than if we were to see disruptive gentrification would be to do it on a smaller scale, with more participation of people in those neighborhoods already,” R. John Anderson says. “It makes sense to scale things properly for the communities you’re operating in. It’s a question of advancing skill sets and business models and networks among small operators.”

Yep. Pretty much.  Disruptive gentrification is bad.  And, though it seems, that gentrification, in some form, is inevitable, the ‘incremental development’ approach gives space for neighborhood folks to stay in the game.

#YOUareTHEdeveloper     #&YouAreNotAlone

Need inspiration?

Theaster Gates

Rick Lowe

Kristen E. Jeffers – The Black Urbanist

New Urban Mom

Corner Side Yard