Poco Way Neighborhood Revitalization

Poco Way is an affordable family housing and community revitalization project that transformed one of San Jose’s long-standing criminalized neighborhoods into a safe family-centered living environment.

The primary site strategies were to reclaim the street as a pedestrian zone by closing Poco Way to through-traffic and to reconfigure the commons with strategically located constructive public spaces—including residential courtyards open to each front door with stoops, laundry rooms at the courtyard-to-street threshold, and a children’s playground and community center at the street’s terminus. Repossessing the neighborhood for its residents, these eyes-on-the-ground site strategies united the project’s dual approach in which half of the former blocks were rehabilitated in place and half were replaced with new units. The 128 units of affordable family housing are knit together around a broad street front promenade, and an edible landscape weaving through the neighborhood’s string of streetscapes, courtyards, small semi-private gathering areas, and play areas. The extensive community engagement process of serial design workshops resulted in a new highly desirable neighborhood, with 80% of the residents proudly returning to live here after reconstruction.

Location

San Jose, CA

Size

9.2 Acre

Completed

1997

Client

San Jose Housing Authority

Team

Herman Stoller Coliver Architects (Architecture)

Awards

Award of Excellence, California Redevelopment Association, 1998

John J. Gunther Blue Ribbon Practices in Housing and Community Development – Suitable Living Environment, US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, 1998

Outstanding Planning Award for a Project/Program/Tool, American Planning Association, 1998

National Merit Award: Program Innovation & Community Revitalization, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, 1998

Best Low Income Tax-Credit Assisted Housing Project in the USA, Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition of Washington D.C., 1997

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