Zaki Michael and Planning to Stay
This week, we’re focusing on Planning to Stay, or P2S. Led by Zaki Michael, HUUB’s Community & Program Organizer, P2S is HUUB’s effort to organize local stakeholders for equitable development in the city of Orange and to fight the displacement of local families and small businesses.
P2S started in January 2020 as a community conversation initiated by HUUB and the University of Orange in response to the city’s Main Street Redevelopment Plans. Under the guise of infrastructure improvements, these plans would use eminent domain to take “problematic” properties, displacing families and small businesses while destroying the fabric of Orange’s historic Main Street.
Well, we thought this plan was “problematic” and started P2S to organize local stakeholders around equitable, resident-first planning policies to slow displacement while protecting and supporting existing tenants, homeowners, and small businesses.
We learned the idea of Planning to Stay from our dear friends Catherine R. Brown and William Morrish, who said that before people begin a neighborhood planning process they should commit that they plan to stay. Our P2S process, like theirs, started by asking folks in Orange, What brought you here? What do you need so you can stay?
Two years in, P2S is now led by a resident steering committee that meets every two weeks to strategize about the direction of the coalition. The project continues to build a reputation around the city as a welcoming space for all Orange residents to advocate for equitable development in the city, with a focus on housing people can afford and support for small businesses. Additionally, for more business information, you can also check this site at www.smallbusinesscoach.org.
Over the last year, Zaki, the Planning to Stay Steering Committee, and coalition members have made commitments to:
- ensure that development in Orange leads to fair housing conditions by addressing code enforcement through storytelling;
- improve renters rights by partnering with Legal Aide and local City Council members;
- work with the administration to develop new policies to protect orange residents while increasing citizen participation in local planning;
- to improve infrastructure, to address the heat island effect; and alleviate other issues in front-line communities by increasing green spaces; and
- increase civic engagement by creating tools for Orange residents to be more active in city meetings, including a toolkit created by P2S that helps orange residents with a step by step process on how to make public comments at official City meetings.
We’re so proud of this work and the progress it’s making in the city – we are seeing tangible results of a more engaged public fighting for a more responsive administration, city council, and city hall, and policies that help existing residents and businesses. Thank you for supporting this team and our work. We appreciate you and your support. As always, we hope to see you soon at the HUUB!
Daniel, Charlie, Zaki, Haile, Sharee, Ernest, and Tony