Kickstart Projects

The North End Smart District is an area of Charlotte seeing an increase in investments and economic development. The City is asking residents to be part of the co-creation and co-implementation of four kick start projects that set the tone of how to have equitable community engagement and true collaboration so that the new investments distribute benefits and burdens equitably in this historic and culturally rich part of the city.

The intent is to establish much needed projects and attract more like it as well as build social capital through relationships. These first four projects for 2017-18 are funded through a Partners for Place Racial Equity Grant awarded to the City by the Urban Sustainability Director’s Network ($75,000) with matching funds from The Knight Foundation ($50,000) and Ortho Carolina ($25,000). These funds are used to implement the co-developed projects and the community engagement required to build the collaboration between community and the City.

Kickstart Requirements

1

Community Goals and Feedback

The North End community has priorities of what investments are needed to thrive as a resident.

2

City’s Goals through Data Analytics

The City has priorities as it relates to economic, ecological, and social sustainability that can be measured through data.

3

City’s Goals through Data Analytics

The City has priorities as it relates to economic, ecological, and social sustainability that can be measured through data.

4

Builds Collaborative Partnerships Between Residents, City, Businesses, and Others.

It takes us all to be the positive difference we want in Charlotte so the goal is to build relationships of trust and accountability through working on projects together.

Kickstart Projects

Tech Charlotte

This initiative has three parts: 1) funding summer internships in the technology field, 2) providing a free co-working space for residents to access internet and other technological resources, and 3) providing a year of free public WiFi in Dillehay Courts.

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Smart Homes

The goal of the Smart Homes Kick Start Project is to reduce the cost burden of high utility bills and resource waste through weatherization, training, and smart technology in partnership with service providers and innovative companies.

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Healthy Communities

Through the Healthy Communities program participants in the North End of Charlotte learn how health and the environment impact each other and how proper waste management can decrease these impacts.

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Build Your Own Kickstart

This project was set up to maximize community influence and decision making. The community has conceptualized and is working to implement their own Farmers Market in the North End to meet the need for fresh produce in the community.

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Kickstart Project 1

Tech Charlotte

An initiative of the City of Charlotte’s Housing & Neighborhood Services, to help residents develop career pathways by providing access to technology education, and training. TechCharlotte has three parts:

1

Working with youth ages 16-24 year old and residents to gain technology experience, industry education and application, and career pathways. In the Summer of 2017, the Partners for Place grant funded a TechCharlotte high school internship.

2

Working with community leaders from the North End to identify community technology needs and it was quickly realized that what residents wanted most was a place to connect to the internet. This led to a partnership with Google Fiber and Hygge coworking to support a physical space for the community. This space will provide residents with:

  • Internet connectivity
  • The ability to access new resources and training; and
  • The opportunity to build meaningful relationships and co-create the NESD alongside public, private and nonprofit partners.

3

Grant funds will also be used to provide free public WiFi in Dillehay Courts by mid-2018 for a year.

Kickstart Project 2

Smart Homes

The goal of the Smart Homes Kick Start Project is to reduce the cost burden of high utility bills and resource waste through weatherization, training, and smart technology in partnership with service providers and innovative companies. By lowering utility bills the Kick Start Project will help people to remain in place and alleviate financial burdens. Through testing smart homes devices and collecting data on savings, the project can help educate residents on how technology can improve quality of life. This has been done through two phases:

1

The Duke Energy Neighborhood Energy Savings Program installed basic weatherization and energy and water saving measures in the homes of 70% of the homes in the older neighborhoods of the North End on their own funding mid-2017. As part of our partnership, Duke distributed a survey to homeowners that gave the City critical information about other needs and identifying households that qualify for City programs. Over 45 households were identified in that distributed survey for the City’s Safe Home program as likely eligible for the program and received targeted outreach.

2

Duke Energy is partnering with Amazon and Intel to test smart home bundles (HUB: Amazon Echo Dot/Intel Gateway, Smart Plugs (2x), Thermostat, Halo Smoke/Fire Alarm or First Response Smart Fire Alarm based on wiring of home, Amazon Prime, Smart Strip, Light Bulbs, 30-day support with Amazon) for income qualifying neighborhoods. They identified the North End as the location to collaborate with up to 40 interested households. The residents who indicated their interest in this project were invited to select meaningful smart home devices and chart the course on a partnership with Duke Energy.

Key partner RETI (Renewable Energy Transition Initiative) a Charlotte-based nonprofit organization is providing support and training for all the program participants, as well as for the broader community on energy and cost-savings techniques to reduce the energy burden (percentage of income spent on energy) in the area. Households that have agreed to participate will share data on energy savings as well as lessons learned throughout 2018.

Kickstart Project 3

Healthy Communities

Healthy Communities is a program led by the City of Charlotte Solid Waste Services to transform the way Charlotte residents view their health and the environment. This program was selected to test out new ideas and opportunities in the North End to provide localized benefits. This kick start has three parts:

1

Interactive education on health impacts of the environment and the role they can take to improve the environment through waste management. Individuals learn how the air, water and soil connect to cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and diabetes. Inclusive, innovative public events, like silent discos and work out parties are intended to get more people excited about the benefits of waste reduction, exercise, and healthy eating.

2

Food Too Good to Waste participants take practical, every day steps to improve their health, the health of the community, and report out on waste diversion and health benefits.

3

North End Community Gardens are also benefited by this project as they provide opportunities for composting and local fresh food source. Funds from this grant have been used to hire a gardener to assist with the gardens and to develop new community gardens at local public schools.

Kickstart Project 4

Build Your Own Kickstart

The Build Your Own Kick Start incorporates an entirely open-ended project in order to directly address community-identified goals that are not being focused on in other kick start projects.  Residents were invited to provide input, which was compiled and reviewed by those who were most interested in this project and crafted into ideas to move forward. This project had two phases:

1

Using design thinking which includes taking inventory of what’s offered in the community and what’s missing but wanted by residents and the analyzing data to determine some opportunities for how grant funding could achieve community goals. Several ideas were developed into concepts and then voted on by residents as to what ideas they wanted to spend resources to pursue.

2

The concept that was voted on was to seed a farmers market in the North End by testing the viability and different outreach techniques over a six-month time frame. This would help achieve a community goal to have fresh, healthy produce while also building community by fostering intentional dialog about food and healthy eating. The initiative will start by collaborating with Camp North End’s Morning Markets on April 7th and May 5th and is planned to continue the first Saturday of the month until October 2018.