Davin Hong led a Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) team to work with the Cherry Hill Development Corporation (CHDC) to create the Vision Plan to help the community build upon its strengths toward a sustainable future. The initiative was conducted in partnership with the Mayor’s INSPIRE program. The NDC met with a steering committee formed by the CHDC in a series of meetings to hear and understand the history, challenges and aspirations of the community. The team performed research studying prior plans, historical documents, and GIS data to better understand the issues faced by Cherry Hill. The team also sought out stakeholders to help foster relationships and mediate roadblocks to progress. Through a series of collaborative worksessions, the team identified strategies that address weaknesses and build on strengths to improve the physical, social and economic reality of Cherry Hill. The NDC team worked to identify opportunities for improved services, amenities, and development. It also built institutional, non-profit, and business partnerships to help the neighborhood form a roadmap towards implementation. The Cherry Hill Vision plan strives to balance social, economic, and environmental improvements to holistically strengthen the community.
While the emphasis is on the built environment, the strategies incorporated were selected for their social and economic impact potential. The improvement of mobility, open space, educational and community services, amenities, and placemaking together build upon the history and character of Cherry Hill. The goal is not to change Cherry Hill to become like other neighborhoods. Rather the aim is to enhance Cherry Hill to become a better version
of itself, augmenting its identity and character while preserving its residents. At the same time, the hope is to improve the social and economic outcomes of the existing population by improving health, education and employment access. A truly sustainable solution depends on market growth that reverses the neighborhood’s concentration of poverty. By improving the built environment and the uses within it, a modest mixed-income population growth is possible, establishing a critical mass that can sustainably
support businesses, services, jobs and ultimately, community wealth.