DHK prepared a Master Plan for the comprehensive redevelopment of this problem-plagued public housing development under the federal HOPE VI program. HUD approved the plan which became the first such public housing project in Boston to be awarded funding under the then new HOPE VI program. The Master Plan proposed a redesign to reduce the existing 800-unit development to 525 units. Originally conceived of as a whole community, the 50-year-old Mission Hill Main had become an island within the urban context, lacking most of the features that make a residential area a neighborhood.
DHK’s plan for its redesign was developed in a series of planning workshops with tenants and Housing Authority representatives that addressed the need to renew the Mission Hill community. Streets, courtyards, and access to buildings were configured to increase tenants’ sense of neighborhood and to encourage defensible space. The existing apartments that were substandard in size by contemporary public housing requirements were expanded and reconfigured. The redesign also accommodated the delivery of a comprehensive set of on-site social service programs designed to provide residents with access to health, child care, and employment resources which were unavailable at the development.