DSNI Historic Timeline


  • Riley Foundation focuses on Dudley Street area after visit; Dudley Advisory Group formed
  • Nearly one-third of Dudley land lies vacant after years of disinvestment, abandonment, arson

1985: Together, We Find the Way

  • Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative named
  • First Community meetings: resident control established and key issues identified
  • First board elected

1986: Don’t Dump On Us

  • First staff hired and office opened
  • DSNI organizes neighborhood with “Don’t Dump On Us!” campaign to clean up vacant lots
  • First annual Neighborhood Clean-Up
  • First Multi-Cultural Festival

1987: Bottom-Up Planning

  • Innovative, participatory community planning with DAC consultants to produce The Dudley Street Neighborhood Comprehensive Revitalization Plan
  • Plan adopted by the City of Boston
  • “Don’t Dump On Us” campaign closes illegal trash transfer stations
  • Commuter rail service restored

1988: Take a Stand, Own the Land

  • Made history as the only community group in the nation to win eminent domain power; for acquiring vacant land in central “Triangle” area
  • Dudley Neighbors, Inc. (DNI) community land trust created for Dudley Triangle
  • First “inner-city” neighborhood to win State grant to create a Town Common

1989: The Triangle Plan

  • Dudley Triangle build-out plan completed
  • DSNI joins anti-redlining Community Investment Coalition (CIC)

1990: Building Houses and People Too

  • “Building Houses and People Too” campaign around human development concerns
  • Young Architects and Planners Project designs models for community centers
  • Agency Collaborative founded
  • CIC community reinvestment agreement signed with banks
  • Tenant organizing to improve conditions at 147-unit Cottage Brook Apartments

1991: Dudley PRIDE: People and Resources Investing in Dudley’s Environment

  • “Dudley PRIDE” campaign begins around health, safety and environmental concerns, including de-leading, hazardous waste clean-up and neighborhood clean-up
  • Nubian Roots Youth Committee established and first youth elected to DSNI Board
  • Community Summerfest held at Mary Hannon Park, youth recreation program begins
  • Project Hope opens Magnolia Cooperative Housing
  • Family Daycare Providers Network formed
  • College mentoring project begins

1992: Growing Resources

  • $2 million Ford Foundation low-interest PRI loan to buy private vacant land
  • Community Facilities Planning Group formed
  • Homebuyer classes started
  • Neighborhood Scholarship Fund founded
  • Dacia-Woodcliff Community Garden opens
  • Best Kept Neighborhood Civic Award from City

1993: Breaking Ground

  • Declaration of Community Rights
  • Break ground on Winthrop Estates, first new housing in Dudley Triangle
  • Mary Hannon Park rehabilitated
  • Youth design and paint “Unity Through Diversity” Mural
  • “Economic$ with People in Mind” Summit with residents, labor, business, government, lenders
  • Dorchester Bay EDC completes Alexander/Magnolia Cooperatives; buys and renovates Cottage Brook Apartments
  • Coalition organized to fight proposed asphalt plant in neighborhood
  • Casey Foundation chooses DSNI for multi-year Rebuilding Communities Initiative (RCI)

1994: Streets of Hope

  • Streets of Hope, acclaimed book about DSNI published
  • Orchard Gardens Community Center opens
  • Stafford Heights limited equity cooperative project begun by Nuestra Comunidad CDC
  • 17 hazardous waste sites included in State public involvement process
  • City commits funds to renovate Vine Street/Cape Verdean Community House

1995: Food for Thought

  • DSNI is a case study in US General Accounting Office report to Congress on comprehensive Community Development
  • Orchard Park public housing development granted funds for major renovations
  • Soil Safety Initiative tests 70 gardens and provides compost to 50 gardens
  • Food Project begins Farmers Market

1996: Buck$ Stop Here

  • “Holding Ground,” award-winning documentary about DSNI premiers
  • Grand opening of Dudley Town Common
  • “Buck$ Stop Here” economic power campaign is launched
  • Major street and sidewalk improvements on Dudley St. and Blue Hill Ave.
  • Dudley Business Directory produced
  • Community Urban Visioning process updates revitalization plan
  • Food Project begins reclamation of Dudley land for food production

1997: Sustainable Development

  • Urban agriculture plans include construction of a community greenhouse on rehabilitated brownfield site
  • Welfare reform Community Response Network formed
  • Youth Entrepreneurship Program launched
  • “What if...?” scenarios planning uncover lasting approaches for community economic power
  • DSNI receives prestigious American Planning Association Award for housing planning
  • 504 Dudley St, formerly Dudley Mill Works, renovated and opened as offices for DSNI, YouthBuild Boston and Children’s Services of Roxbury

1998: New Beginnings

  • Dennis Street Park, once vacant lots, designated an official Boston City Park
  • Brook Avenue Cooperatives developed by Gatehouse Group/Veterans Benefit Clearinghouse
  • Construction begins for 126 units of Orchard Commons (off-site) housing
  • Neighborhood Human Services Directory published
  • Co-authors Reclaiming Lost Ground: A resource guide for community based brownfields development in Massachusetts
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) education and tax assistance campaign launched
  • RCI neighborhood grants program begins
  • Planning begins with Bird Street Community Center for a new Uphams-Dudley community center
  • Resident Development Institute established
  • Memorandum of Understanding with the City over disposition of vacant land in the core area

1999: Education and Economic Development

  • Break ground for Vine Street Community Center
  • DSNI and DNI establish The Stalk Exchange and Dudley Investment for Neighborhood Enterprises (DINE) to engage in economic development activities
  • We Need to Stand Together, report on welfare reform produced
  • Community planning for core area housing
  • Low Income Women’s Organizing Committee formed
  • Cape Verdean Community Task Force founded
  • Participating in multi-year Boston Parent Organizing Network to improve educational outcomes

2000: Village Jamboree

  • Fannie Mae Foundation selects Dudley Triangle as one of 10 “Just Right” emerging neighborhoods nationwide for affordable home ownership with growing capital investment
  • New City licensing requirements for solid waste and recycling businesses
  • Planning for mixed-use (commercial, residential and open space) on Dudley Street with new state-of-art planning tools developed with MIT, Boston Advisors and Abt Associates
  • DSNI hires resident Executive Director

2001: Resident Leadership

  • DSNI receives Independent Sector’s 2001 Leadership IS Award
  • Emerson Schoolyard playground completed
  • Solid Waste Industry Best Practices Report
  • Deleading existing homes and yards
  • Rebuilding Communities Initiative (RCI) finishes
  • DNI staffed by DSNI
  • 65 units of affordable housing break ground
  • Education e-News started

2002: Investing in the Community

  • Vine Street Community Center opens!
  • City’s White Fund commits $3.4 million to the new Uphams/Dudley Community Center
  • Tax Assistance Program recaptures $393,000 in the neighborhood
  • Resident Development Institute pilots leadership series
  • Neighborhood-Based Team joins DSNI to form the Urban Village Work Group
  • Julian Judson Playground completed in partnership with DNI, Computer Associates, KaBOOM! and neighborhood residents
  • Secondary area residents ask for greater inclusion
  • Center for Community Builders launched
  • REAL takes Nubian Roots place

2003: Strategic Focus

  • 3 Strategic focus areas identified for greater impact - economic power, resident leadership, youth opportunities and development
  • Planning for mixed use on Dudley & East Cottage St. land
  • DNI turns 15!
  • Howard Dacia Townhouses Coop (25 units) by Nuestra Comunidad
  • Sargent St. Homes 10 homeownership units by Nuestra
  • Julian Judson Gayland Park gets major plantings
  • DSNI Board includes secondary area residents
  • Resident Development Institute offers leadership series facilitated by residents
  • Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School opens
  • Youth News started
  • REAL Talent Shows
  • New Majority Coalition launched
  • Participation in Student Assignment Task Force
  • Partnership with Young Achievers Math & Science Pilot School & Antioch New England Institute
  • REAL College Bound

2004: Celebrating 20 Years of Transformation

  • Woodville Julian 11 homeownership & 2 rental units (New Boston Housing)
  • Project Hope (commercial space) & Dorchester Bay EDC (50 rental units & commercial) designated for Dudley & East Cottage St land
  • Blue Hill Commons 10 homeownership units break ground (RLFJB Corp)
  • Community Greenhouse built
  • Dennis & Huckins St. Garden & Lewis Place Orchard under construction
  • Youth leadership development
  • “Race, Racism, & Power” dialogues
  • Voter Participation
  • GOTCHA collaborative captures 153 youth summer jobs in 24 non-profit agencies
  • Wireless Zone
  • Computer Loan Fund


  • Sister Clara Muhammed Coopertive - 46 units, Sargent Street Homes - 11 homes, Howard/Dacia - 8 units and Woodville Julian Housing - 17 homes completed.


  • Kroc Community Center/The Salvation Army breaks ground on Dudley Street
  • Annual Walk for Dudley started
  • Project Hope opens new office building on Dudley Street as the first certified "green" building in Roxbury with Silver Status and recognized for showing Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design by the US Green Building Council


  • Newly renovated Dennis Street Park is opened
  • 400 new voters registered
  • Dudley Village with 50 units of affordable rental housing and commercial space on Dudley Street is completed
  • Dudley Youth Council launches radio show on local Radio Nha Terra 107.1FM


  • Brookford-Dalin-Dean 18 units of housing completed
  • Participted in Dudley Foreclosure Roundtable to coordinate efforts to help homeowners and renters to keep their homes


  • One of 21 neighborhoods in the country awarded a US Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods planning grant
  • One of 5 hub agencies in the Boston Thrive in 5 Initiative
  • DSNI partners with Orchard Gardens School, Dearborn Middle School and Burke High School to turnaround their schools
  • Community Greenhouse is leased to The Food Project supporting over 25 families growing food in the greenhouse
  • Dearborn Middle School partners with DSNI and Roxbury Presyterian Church to launch the Dearborn Saturday School
  • Raised response rate for the US Census by 9%


  • Co-host a Lift Up Voices from the Field conference with two MA Promise Neighborhood with University of Massachusetts/Boston Center for Community Democracy and Democratic Literacy
  • 90,000sq ft Kroc Community Center/The Salvation Army opens on Dudley Street
  • Dudley Workforce Initiative gets precendent setting compliance in hiring standards for residents, workers of color and women in the construction trades at the Kroc Community Center
  • Dudley Youth Cuncil created an award winning film entitled "Live Up or Give It Up: A Story of a Dropout" recognized by the Roxbury Film Festival and completes a short film "Teenage Fire" on teen relationships


  • One of 7 neighborhoods in the country to receive a US Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods implementation grant
  • In partnership with Boston Plan for Excellence, the Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School is awarded a charter and opens with 132 students in pre-kindegarden, kindergarden and 1st grade
  • Dudley Learning Center launches as a resource for the community building field
  • Over 450 families join Dudley Children Thrive
  • "For the People By The People: Best Practices for Maximizing Resident, Minority and Female Particiption on Construction Projects" is published

 Our Urban Village-In-Progress

  • More than 3,600 DSNI members and counting
  • Over half of 1,300 vacant lots rehabilitated for homes, gardens, parks, orchard, playgrounds, schools, community centers and a Town Common
  • Over 400 new homes built and over 500 housing units rehabbed since DSNI formed
  • Business and investment are growing
  • Visitors come from around the world
  • Residents who were children when DSNI began have become leaders throughout the community