Located in Camden, east of I-676 and south of downtown, Morgan Village is a struggling neighborhood. Half its residents live below the poverty line, and about half have less than a high school diploma. However, Morgan Village is full of youth. A third of its residents are under 18. There is a clear need to empower the neighborhood, from making better schools to building more housing to refurbishing the neighborhood.
The Morgan Village Circle Community Development Corporation (MVCCDC) asked the Collaborative to help them make recent investment in education and housing in the village more visible, focusing on character and quality of public spaces. These recent investments include a new elementary school (H B Wilson Elementary School), a new magnet combined middle school and high school (the Morgan Village Creative Arts High School), and a City sponsored housing development.
After meeting with the Morgan Village community, The Collaborative focused on revamping three main community gateways, one on either end of the neighborhood and one at the center. The gateways at the edges of the neighborhood are located at key intersections which get heavy use and are the entrances to Morgan Village. The area at the center consists of an existing gathering space across from the new Creative Arts High School, and spots next to community businesses.
Dubbed “Creative Canvas” to get students involved in creating and placing art into the “fabric” of the neighborhood, there were many improvements that the Collaborative team decided would help create a better Morgan Village. These improvements include better signage for the entrance into Morgan Village by I-676, improved lighting, new crosswalks, extensive greening and tree planting, and murals.