Neighborhood Transformation

As you walk through the Westside of Santa Barbara, one of the most striking things you'll notice is just how residential it is. There are apartments stacked on top of apartments, long driveways with multiple units, little available street parking… and almost no health and human service providers.
This is part of the reason why we began work on the Westside - the neighborhood has great assets in its residents and business owners, but little to offer in terms of tangible service providers.
However, of late there is a new movement in the neighborhood. A new community center and cultural space opened on the Lower Westside in the last year, a health collaborative has begun to form around Harding Elementary, and a new shared workspace is in the works for the neighborhood. These are all happening independently from my work, but we too have our own momentum building with a meeting this month with new potential team members and possible new initiatives growing out of our relationship with Harding.
Westside residents have often had to leave the Westside to get to the services or events they need. But what if this can change? What if the neighborhood itself becomes known as a place of provision and care, rather than scarcity and deficiency?
Slowly but surely, we may be on the cusp of a real transformation.