Unite a Community by Giving Them a Focus
A consortium of national and local developers, Johns Hopkins, and the local community focused on transforming 88 acres of East Baltimore into a thriving mixed-use, mixed-income community that embraced the needs of long-term residents, young families, students, biotech companies and local retailers. It was a tall order considering years of neglect, half-started projects and little visible progress. In a diverse community, there were diverse visions for the development, and this led to distrust and disagreement.
Forest City hired CO OP to create a brand that would provide a platform to market the individual components of the project and unlock the financial potential of the project. Several previous agencies had proposed new names for the development but the way in which they worked with the community only created more distrust.
We recognized we had to break this vicious cycle of distrust and find a way to unite the community before we could do any marketing. It all started by reinventing ‘social media’. We spent time on the streets asking people for their opinions, thoughts, ideas and stories of the neighborhood. This started to rebuild some trust. But the breakthrough came once we identified that there were only two things everyone could agree on: Of all of the proposed initiatives the plan to build a community park at the heart of the development was the only part that was truly embraced by everyone; and putting the needs of kids first was the only way to get everyone to change their entrenched views on what they thought was best for the neighborhood.