Anyone that goes to Rutgers New Brunswick has been on or at least near the infamous French Street. It is located next to the college avenue campus and many students live within the French Street neighborhood. It represents one of the most “blighted” areas in New Brunswick and may arguably be an area that is in the most desperate need of social, environmental and economic improvement.
The French street neighborhood is being looked at by students in the course 10:762:421 or Community Development. The class is essentially investigating all aspects of the French Street neighborhood in order to reveal areas that can be improved which have the potential to make the area much more appealing and sustainable. The areas being investigated include Physical capital, Economic capital, Social/Human capital, Environmental capital and Business/Organizational capital. Certain issues that are being looked at that are found specifically within the street include transportation, air quality, lack of outdoor recreational opportunity, economic development, housing, vacant lots, language barriers, litter and waste management. Another issue that has been identified within the area is an issue that can be found within all of New Brunswick: “Temp jobs.” In an article by Michael Grabell, the temporary job issue is talked about by explaining how “white vans zip through an old Hungarian neighborhood in New Brunswick, picking up workers at temp agencies along French Street.”
A few assets that were found in the French Street neighborhood that can be improved include the small park (which can be expanded), wide sidewalks (which can have more stormwater management practices and bike racks), flat rooftops (for rooftop gardening/ farming) and local stakeholders such as Elijah’s promise, a landscaping company, a local high school and of course Rutgers University.
Do you think that this class will influence the municipality of New Brunswick into improving French Street?