[Added 1/7/22 – Here is a link to an excellent story regarding Vanessa’s progress and her hope of having 100 more homes like hers renovated in 2023].
With a vision to rebuild Trenton, Vanessa Solivan is a pioneer in a Trenton program that has a double goal of reducing blight while providing a path to home ownership. Solivan is the force behind the Solivan New Beginnings Homeownership Program. She is serving as the general contractor to turn an uninhabitable structure into a home for her and her family.
According to Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora, there are over 1,000 abandoned properties in a city with approximately 28,600 households. In March of this year, the Trenton City Council approved a resolution (PDF) that designated Vanessa as the developer of an abandoned home.
What makes this approach unique, according to an opinion piece by Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora, is that normally this designation is given to large scale developers. The approach that Trenton is taking with Solivan is a much more grassroots effort driven by the people who have to live with the blight.
In the above interview, filmed at the 5th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCars Summit, Solivan provides an overview of the city’s program. Although she is effectively serving as the general contactor, the city is assisting in selecting subcontractors and ensuring her new home will be up to code.
Further, she expresses enthusiasm regarding the future launch of commercial autonomous vehicle services via Trenton MOVES. She points out that the benefits to such an approach would be provide better mobility for the less fortunate.
[Here is the interview with Trenton Mayor Gusciora that provides additional insight.]
Coverage provided by ViodiTV and CARTS.