Trust fellow Victor Body-Lawson brought
together the South Bronx Overall Economic
Development Corporation and Tenants United
for Better Living on a month-long intensive
design charette that addressed public space
issues at Diego Beekman Houses. This low-income,
scattered-site housing development in the
South Bronx was slated for major capital
improvements. Residents were convinced
that well-designed open spaces were an
essential complement to their ongoing efforts
to reduce crime and drug activity and to
reclaim their neighborhood. The tenants'
intimate understanding of the strengths
and weaknesses of their buildings and community,
as well as their determination to restore
a level of comfort, safety, and beauty
to their homes, were indispensable to the
Mr. Body-Lawson led a group of
residents through field studies and an
intensive design workshop at the tenant
offices. Together they formulated an
extensive problem summary, established
a set of principles to inform design
interventions, and developed a series
of guidelines and recommendations addressing
buildings, urban environment, safety,
and social services.
resulting report, Improving
Quality of Life through Design, was published in both
English and Spanish and submitted to HUD
for consideration as part of its planned
renovation and refinancing of the buildings.
Based on its recommendations, HUD continued
to fund Mr. Body-Lawson as a tenant representative
on design development.
In 2002, in
what has been
of a federal
in the country,"
of their own
homes. In an
and Urban Development,
led by Beekman
and 1,200 apartments.
Read more in articles from City
Limits Magazine and the New
York Daily News.