Hollis F. Price Early College High School

I. What is your project name? Environment Community Outreach (ECO) Architectural Firm
II. Now write your paragraph summary on who, what, when, where, and how
ECO was created in response to the economic downturn that is ailing the city of Memphis. Abandoned buildings are becoming the norm in many of the geographical regions of the city. Our goal is to examine this problem and present an alternative approach in restoring pride within communities through the creation of green community centers. Utilizing data and human resources, the ECO Architectural Firm plans to establish one community center that can be a catalyst for urban renewal in other parts of the city.
III. Describe the current situation (pre-project including local, state, federal authority in law if any). What is the need that you saw in your community involving habitat (as you define it) and/or humanity? What regulation or lack of regulation might have led to the problem of need? What public or private office did you have to get permission from to do your project?
Similar to other large industrial cities across America, the economic crisis has forced businesses to look at their effectiveness. In some situations, that resulted in layoffs and in extreme cases shutting down and abandoning their buildings. By resorting to the latter, communities lose key anchors and the negative effects are felt by other neighboring businesses. In restoring these facilities to community centers, it can provide numerous opportunities to enhance members of the community and strengthen bonds that have been severed due to economic losses. What we do not understand is that in many instances, these abandoned buildings are left to succumb to erosion and/or vandalism and few people seem to demonstrate any concern for the blight. Collaborating with local officials, such as the Memphis City Council and the Department of Parks Services, EOC Architecture can provide an alternative approach in restoring communities.
IV. Describe how your project improves the situation—How does it help the habitat and/or humanity in your community? Who benefits? Who could be negatively affected by it?
Along with schools, community centers can be considered an anchor for those they serve. In our scenario, the community center will anchor the revitalization of the neighborhoods. By removing the blight of large abandoned warehouses, the center should attract other businesses to the area and in time beautify the surrounding area. Along with the physical improvements, the community center will provide its members assistance with job skills, meetings, healthy lifestyles, and “green” living.
V. Tell us the rationale for this project—Why this project at this time? What are the reasons to do (forces for) this project? What are the forces against this project that you had to overcome?
Similar to other industrial cities, Memphis faced severe economic issues when the national economy fell. Unemployment reached well over the national average and companies began to cut jobs and/or relocating. By outsourcing or closing down, this left a physical void in many areas of Memphis. However, in some areas, such as downtown, there has been an emphasis on revitalizing the area to draw new businesses and citizens. Yet, the hardest hit areas are still left unattended. This leaves community members to scramble for alternatives.
VI. What were the resources (defined broadly) needed to carry out your project? Where and how did you get them?
Physical and human capital would be our biggest concern. Finding and raising the money to fund this project would cost several million dollars. Beyond the finances, we would have to contract out the various engineers to make sure the building is physically sustainable.
VII. Who were your allies? Who might your detractors or opponents be? How did you respond to their arguments against the change you’ve made or are proposing?
Through discussions, we have obtained the support of a top architectural firm, The Crump Firm, Inc., and other local officials. Due to the effects that this would have, we have not had any serious opponents to our project.
VIII. What legacy are you creating through this project for students who follow you in your school or for younger kids?
If we were to succeed at this, it would demonstrate that you don’t have to sit around and wait on anybody initiate change. It could only take one or two with determination and a strong desire to help others that could alter the lives of many.
IX. How could your project be sustained over-time?
Our vision would be to start with one community center and continuously evaluate its effectiveness. If it is deemed a success, we would venture into other areas and establish ECO community centers.