little saigon 2030 action Plan
Little Saigon, Seattle, WA / 2022
Project completed while at BERK Consulting
Radhika and Rebecca led a community process with the Friends of Little Sài Gòn, a community-based organization, to create a 10-year Action Plan for Seattle’s Little Saigon neighborhood.
The Action Plan sets forth a shared Vision, Goals, and Actions for the neighborhood over the next decade. It is a road map to guide the community—as well as public and private partners—as they work together to achieve the Vision.
The Action Plan aims to strengthen neighborhood assets, improve quality of life, provide housing and mobility choices, and address equitable recovery from the pandemic.
The community will use the Action Plan to advocate for investment, additional resources, and equitable decisions and processes over the next decade. As of August 2022, Friends of Little Sài Gòn staff are leading the implementation of the Actions outlined in the 2030 Action Plan.
A COMMUNITY-LED PROCESS
Racial prejudice and the imbalance of power have marginalized communities of color in local policymaking. This marginalization has led to a disproportionate burden of environmental risk and health hazards being imposed on communities like Little Saigon.
The Action Planning process shifted power to members of the community to dismantle the structural inequities that have marginalized their voices in the past. The resulting Action Plan is responsive to community needs that aren’t well represented in available data, such as the connection between commercial affordability, housing, and human services.
In addition to creating an Action Plan, the nine-month process outlined below built community capacity, focused energy, enhanced cross-sector relationships, and created new partnerships.
Leadership Committee. The Action Plan was co-created with a 20-person Leadership Committee composed of small business owners, service providers, and others interested in ensuring the future of Little Saigon addresses the community’s needs and priorities. Individuals in the Leadership Committee represented the perspectives of larger communities in the neighborhood.
Stakeholder interviews. We captured detailed input from housing providers and developers, restaurant and grocery store owners, mutual aid providers, community-based organizations, and City of Seattle staff.
Multilingual survey. We designed an online and paper survey that was accessible to audiences in Vietnamese, Simplified Chinese, and English. To promote the survey, Leadership Committee members and our client, the Friends of Little Sài Gòn, served as trusted conduits to their communities, inviting people to engage with the survey in the format or language that was most comfortable for them to ensure a broad range of feedback.
Partnerships. We partnered with InterIm Community Development Association, a group with strong ties to the neighborhood’s Chinese community, to conduct in-person outreach to engage Chinese households in the survey. This helped bridge the digital divide often encountered when conducting online engagement with non-English speaking communities. We also partnered with a local mutual aid group to reach houseless individuals and ensure their voices are reflected in the Action Plan.
Pop-ups and installations. To encourage survey participation, we hosted several pop up events. At the Tết (Lunar New Year) celebration and Ăn Đi Art Exhibition Opening at Little Saigon Creative, we spoke with dozens of community members who were attending the opening. We also partnered with the local Egg Rolls mutual aid volunteers to distribute the survey to unhoused community members at their free weekly Sunday meal at Chu Minh Tofu. A more permanent installation at the Friends of Little Sài Gòn’s cultural center reached visitors and younger community members, including those visiting Hello Em Viet Coffee and Roastery, located inside Little Saigon Creative.