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Connecting Crossroad; Imagining an equitable Future for Langley Park & The International Corridor

CNU Charter Awards 2020


The Project
Low-income neighborhoods have remained invisible and neglected due to their residents' lack of power and capital, racism, xenophobia, and perceived otherness. These neighborhoods are poor in capital, but they are rich in culture, hubs of cultural production, and foci of cross-cultural connections. 

Langley Park, in addition to all of the above, is home to a population of over 80 percent Latin Americans. A highly challenging issue for Langley Park is plans for the future Purple Line Light Rail transit which will pass through this neighborhood in the next few years.  Although transit improves access to jobs, education, and other amenities for lower-income households and attracts new housing and businesses and produces a profitable tax base that can be reinvested in the community, the appearance of a new transit system raises land values, increases rents and prices in nearby areas and results in the displacement of existing residents. If there are no affordability protections in place, the effects of the Purple Line will be devastating.

Langley Park
Initially the Elizabeth's Delight plantations (1696-1730), then merchant farms (19th century), Langley Park was founded and named after being bought by the McCormick-Goodhart family in 1921; their still standing mansion was built in 1924. The family named their 556-acre property Langley Park after their family home in Kent England.  In the 1940s and 50s it became an attraction to post-war housing and in 1963 it was sold to home developers. The neighborhood's affordable housing initially attracted young couples and families, who were largely white and Jewish. Increasing numbers of African Americans moved into the area during the 1970s after desegregation. Later, Langley Park's African, Caribbean, and Hispanic populations grew, leading to over 80% Latin American at present. Like other poor and immigrant communities, Langley park is a story of neglect and lack of investment and identity. Project Description
This project attempts to design an Equitable Transit-Oriented Development to minimize displacement and ensure long-term affordability near transit. Through studying and engaging the community, design solutions considered the immigrant community and its needs. We aimed to design urban spaces that build upon the assets of their population and ease interaction and cultural communication. Our focus was on designing the urban spaces and creating guidelines for future developments. 

Training/educational and community centers, transitional housing, and spaces for small businesses and startups, for instance, are all designed to address the needs of the large documented and undocumented resident. Public plazas, cosmopolitan canopies, community gardens and business incubators are examples of places that are designed to erase the lines of segregations. Designing places of income and an inclusive urban landscape as home for business incubators, job training centers, community centers, health centers, and social services are steps to create self-esteem and self-efficacy and foster identity and dignity for the residents.

Langley Park is the intersection of immigration, real estate, and design; the question is how to translate concepts of integration and diversity into design. Thus, considering the principles of place and identity, distinctiveness, continuity, self-esteem, and self-efficacy seemed necessary. Places can be distinct while having continuity to historic and cultural backgrounds. In such places immigrants and communities are “free to be”. These places can exist in different scales, e.g., at home, in community gardens, and the cosmopolitan canopies like food markets and public plazas. Self-efficacy and self-esteem can be found in places that provide pride, income, and support. Therefore, we had to design job markets, business incubators, afford-able housing, community buildings, education spaces, and spaces for social Services. Therefore, our design are to:

•    Design affordable housing in a sustainable and walkable community,
•    Create Connections across the neighborhoods,
•    Create places where people are “Free to Be”.
•    And take advantage of the transit system to better manage the natural resources

Semester / Year

Team Members

Sara Ghafar Samar

Faculty Advisors

Program / Center Affiliation