Our growing national crisis of homelessness, mental health, and addiction plays out in public spaces across the US. Central Atlanta Progress (CAP), which manages Woodruff Park in Atlanta, Georgia, offers a leading example of how place management organizations can partner with social service agencies to meet the needs of underserved people in their spaces. Project for Public Spaces began working with CAP in 2016 as part of our Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community grant program. By engaging with park stakeholders, including downtown residents, students, office workers, business owners, and government agencies, CAP and Project for Public Spaces decided to invest in a custom-designed games cart and staff to activate it on the southwest side of the park.
This project helped change perceptions and usage of the park and motivated CAP to hire a new park manager. In 2018, CAP was awarded a second grant to fund a dedicated, full-time social worker for the park from local social service provider HOPE Atlanta. This social worker provides park visitors experiencing homelessness and poverty with case management, information, and referrals for supportive housing, public assistance, shelters, and treatment programs. From September 2018 to October 2019, she enrolled 720 people in HOPE Atlanta programs, referred another 765 to others, placed 300 individuals into shelter—and permanently housed 109 individuals. Through this work, Woodruff Park now has services that meet people where they are, building trust through casual everyday interactions. These bonds of trust are vital to successfully addressing our crisis of homelessness at its roots.
Place Evaluation & User Analysis
Community Engagement & Visioning
Place Plans & Design