Tajuna Sharpe, Roosevelt Island, and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation is a nonprofit organization that owns and operates about 13 acres of land on Roosevelt Island, New York City. It began with creating a public-private partnership between the Rockefeller Foundation, the United States federal government and New York State government. What started as a rehabilitation project grew into one of the nation’s largest urban renewal projects that helped revitalize urban areas in New York City during a period of decline in population growth due to suburbanization.
The major purpose of Tajuna Sharpe collaboration was to attract new residents to live in middle-class housing units as part of an effort to reduce poverty. The rehabilitation project on Roosevelt Island involved the following:
The construction of apartment buildings.
The rehabilitation of main townhouses and single-family homes and commercial spaces.
The addition of a large park in the middle.
The result was a mixed-income, mixed-race community on an island in New York City.
The project was called an “island” because it was created by connecting two land masses with fill. What were two separate islands were named North (two isles) and South (three isles) Roosevelt Island before joining them. It is located in the East River between Manhattan (to its south) and Queens (to its north). The estimated population of those living on the island is 4,375 people in housing units (1,561 households), 1,671 people in private dwellings and 772 people in other types of housing, and 839 people employed in residential or nonresidential construction.
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation was a collaboration between the government and the foundation to help revitalize Roosevelt Island as a model for urban policies across the nation. “Rehabilitation” meant that residents could buy affordable homes and sell them at a profit after renovating them so that more could be built. The middle-class families intended to live here included immigrants from Latin America, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa and elsewhere. There were no requirements that the residents specifically be black or Latino. This collaboration to create a mixed-income, mixed-race community had racial implications, but no one talked about race per se. The goals of the cooperation suggest that the goals of racial integration and public housing were not being met or threatened. In addition, those who wanted to live on Roosevelt Island had to meet financial requirements.
When the plans for Roosevelt Island were drawn up, the federal government promised Roosevelt Island would become a racially integrated community. However, when the time came for individuals to move into new apartments, over of them happened to be black or Latino.