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Fall 2017 Project: The Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ) of the Southwest and Behind the Rocks neighborhood is one of fourteen community advocacy groups in Hartford whose mission is to improve the quality of life for its residents. The NRZ has identified several challenges for the neighborhood, including the absence of needed business services and support for economic development; poor infrastructure and streetscape; public safety concerns; and a lack of representation from the community in deciding what and how to solve issues. A review of the literature on successful community-based development stresses that by pairing small business development with community development, more can be achieved than by pursuing them separately. To achieve this twin goal, strong communication and coordination between businesses and community-based organizations, such as the NRZ, are needed. With this in mind, my research focuses on identifying and comparing the list of concerns voiced by small business owners and the NRZ, with the aim of uncovering possible areas for cooperation. I find that, as a group, business owners worry about similar issues and hold common opinions about the needs of the neighborhood, some of which align with the work of the NRZ. Additionally, some owners, upon hearing about the NRZ for the first time, express willingness to attend a community meeting. These results suggest the possibility for achieving greater representation from the community in identifying and solving issues, which can contribute to the NRZ’s goal of improving the quality of life in the neighborhood.


Community partner: Southwest and Behind the Rocks NRZ