Urban Array builds communities centered around social, environmental and economic sustainability. Community is both the local neighborhood and the global network.
Neighborhoods across the country are in dire need of local, non-partisan solutions to ensure a better economic and social future for themselves. The cycle of capital drain from the periphery to the core will be broken only through implementation of a new economic system based on innovation, equity and community ownership.
Due to the lack of business activity in under-resourced neighborhoods, residents are forced to earn and spend outside of their communities. Someone living on the west side of Chicago must travel every day to a more prosperous area to make money. When their neighborhood has no grocery stores, no restaurants, no salons, no laundromats and no entertainment, they have nowhere to spend their earnings, so again they’re forced outside of their neighborhood.
A primary function of UA is to contain a neighborhood’s value within the community and to re-circulate it among its residents, rather than allowing it to immediately exit to affluent neighborhoods, large corporations and banks.
We can’t continue to let capital be exported and generate extreme profits for the few. Our value-based digital asset RRAY is critical in the creation of a micro-economy that generates value within the community and keeps it there.
UA projects are initiative-based, providing resource management advantages over traditional needs-based development. Our work begins in divested neighborhoods that have been undervalued and left behind for too long. First, we build an anchor of support, the Impact Studio.
Impact Studio Anchors
The Impact Studio is the social and intellectual hub, the central meeting place for community members, mentors and entrepreneurs. These studios, which host shared spaces, meeting rooms, video labs and other resources necessary for business development, allow groups to work on a wide variety of projects. One team may be developing a vertical farming enterprise, another working on opening a new restaurant and yet another creating socially-engaged public art installations.
Everyone is ultimately working toward the same goal of building sustainable marketplaces in their neighborhoods. Impact Studios provide personalized guidance while simultaneously allowing entrepreneurs and businesses to access frameworks that can help simplify their journey to self-sufficiency.
Social Franchise Frameworks
Impact Studios will initially focus on the existing businesses and organizations within the neighborhood, as well as developing fundamental business types needed to facilitate community sustainability.
The goal is to create social franchises that can be replicated into similar neighborhoods, providing entrepreneurs the ability to leverage economies of scale, best practices and shared insights through experimentation, hypothesis testing and systems thinking
The following frameworks are our initial focus and will be further built upon or altered as the needs and wants of member communities are realized:
- Urban agriculture (indoor farms, community gardens and landscape improvements)
- Upcycle and reuse centers
- Building, construction & demolition
- Health & wellness
- Self-care & service businesses (barbershops, salons, restaurants and food services)
- Technology and software startups
- Innovative retail marketplace experiences
Cluster Development Strategy
Once these anchor projects are in place, Urban Array will buy adjacent buildings and construct spaces to house businesses created or incubated within the Impact Studios, or other viable businesses from outside the network but within the community. More businesses equals more jobs, foot traffic and prosperity. The clustering of businesses around a central hub or plaza increases walkability and creates a more environmentally and socially conscious neighborhood.
Around the core of support and commerce are green spaces, parks and gardens. UA, and its partners and contributors, will buy and facilitate the rehabilitation and redevelopment of residential spaces surrounding the central hubs to rent and sell to members.
In this way, we will restructure the way American cities are built, creating small concentric communities in which residents can work, live, play, and grow, raising the quality of life, decreasing carbon footprints and fostering local autonomy and economic sustainability.
Experimentation, Innovation & Artistic Expression
Residents need support to secure their cultural wealth and ensure that their neighborhoods remain vessels for hope; creating transformation without displacement. Urban Array provides a platform for community expression through socially-engaged art, cultural development and neighborhood renewal.
Creating the libraries, community centers, galleries and public spaces of tomorrow allows teachers and learners to bring new purpose to their neighborhoods. Socially engaged art and new economic possibility inspire builders, doers and entrepreneurs to create flourishing communities.