The Equitable Uphams Collaborative

A rectangular shaped box to represent a report Cover. The box contains the words, "Equity Forward Uphams Corner - Prepared for by the Equitable Uphams Collaborative by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council September 2019"

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In 2018, our CDFI Collaborative in Boston — BlueHub Capital, Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation, and Boston Medical Center —  was awarded a planning grant from JPMorgan Chase PRO Neighborhoods to develop an equitable development plan for Uphams Corner. Together, the Equitable Uphams Collaborative developed a people and place-based investment roadmap that is connected to recent broad-based planning efforts and is specifically focused on addressing widening disparities in economic and social opportunity in Uphams Corner.

The Collaborative is pleased to share Equity Forward: Uphams Corner, our equitable development plan which provides a series of strategies that will advance the Collaborative’s vision of economic development in Uphams Corner. 

Photo credit: John Phelan

© John Phelan Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Uphams Corner Neighborhood

Boston is among the most racially segregated and unequal cities in the United States. The median net worth of white families is 30,000 times that of black families and the city’s current period of rapid growth threatens to increase financial instability and displacement for Boston’s lowest-income residents.

Uphams Corner is one of the densest and most diverse neighborhoods in Boston. It is also one of the poorest.

Uphams Corner is a microcosm of the racial inequality in Boston, with a higher rate of poverty, unemployment and housing cost burden than Boston overall. Fifty-four thousand people live within one-mile of the Uphams Corner commercial district. Ninety-percent of Uphams Corner residents are people of color, primarily of African American, Latino, and Cape Verdean descent.

People live within one-mile of Uphams Corner

The neighborhood has been a longtime subject of study by the City of Boston, community groups, and urban activists to evaluate opportunities to improve the lives of Uphams Corner residents. While historically affordable for low-income households, the neighborhood is now facing hyper-gentrification pressures following decades of disinvestment with no new market-rate developments in over 50 years.


of Uphams Corner residents are people of color

Despite decades of disinvestment Uphams Corner is at a critical inflection point.

The development and displacement pressures in the neighborhood make it simultaneously an area of great need and tremendous opportunity. Of low-income households in Upham’s Corner, 1 in 3 is extremely-low-income and especially vulnerable to displacement and homelessness. With increasing commercial property values and a booming market for high-end development, small businesses face eviction.

residents are vulnerable to displacement and homelessness

Displacement pressures in Uphams Corner require an urgent, coordinated, and adaptive response.

Image of bridge and mural at Uphams Corner MBTA train station

© Pi.1415926535 Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 Wikimedia Commons

Adaptive, Rapid-Response Capital Deployment

The Equitable Uphams Collaborative was formed in response to mounting pressures and threats to sustainability for Uphams Corner residents and small businesses. Composed of a group of core Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) members and community partners, the Collaborative has the breadth and depth of expertise and resources to support equitable, inclusive, responsive and community-led development in Uphams Corner.

The Collaborative will focus its efforts to ensure that new investments in the neighborhood directly benefit existing residents and business owners. The Coalition will leverage each member’s individual areas of expertise to achieve equitable development in real estate development, small business assistance, supportive housing creation, the implementation of supportive services, capital financing, and lending by:

  • providing loans and technical assistance to small businesses and developers of affordable housing and commercial space

  • providing a flexible capital fund that can augment developer loans to increase affordable and supportive housing units

  • facilitating “quick strike” affordable and commercial land acquisition

  • preserving affordability for naturally occurring affordable multi-family homes

  • designing and implementing an Inclusive Growth Index (IGI) to assess inclusive growth impact, alignment with local plans and community priorities, authentic community engagement, and feasbility of proposed measures

City-Wide Resources