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Smart Neighborhood Initiative

Beginning in 1999, the Smart Neighborhood Initiative (SNI) evolved out of a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the College’s plans to create College-community connections that emphasize civic responsibility and educational innovation. Supporting stronger relationships between the needs of the community and the contributions of higher education institutions aimed to bridge social and intellectual barriers between campus and the neighborhoods surrounding the College.

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Primary Objectives in 1999

  1. Make Technology a part of the way the neighborhood views itself

  2. Provide the infrastructure required to link the SINA institutions with all of the other institutional and not-for-profit partners in the neighborhood

  3. Use appropriate technology to facilitate coordination and communications between all of the neighborhood participants

  4. Encourage technology-centered entrepreneurial efforts

  5. Support educational processes in the Learning Corridor and throughout the neighborhood

  6. Develop self-sustaining ways to share Trinity expertise with the neighborhood and with community organizations

Strategies in 1999

  1. Continue Computing Center efforts to connect educational partners

  2. Focus on strategies that strengthen information flow (Email and WWW-authoring skills for participants)

  3. Create a friendly location in the neighborhood to encourage neighborhood, faculty, and students to work together on technology-related issues.
    This Cyber Cafe will include:         
    a. A computer training facility         
    b. Office space for Kellogg and Cyber Cafe staff         
    c. Lounge/Cafe space for one-on-one training with coffee/snack space

  4. Adjacent to Cyber Cafe, create support services for entrepreneurial efforts, including a copy center operation, WWW hosting service, and facilities management services (telephone and data support) for neighborhood institutions

  5. Develop a sales operation for software and hardware components needed by TC students and neighborhood to “connect” and update personal computers. Services would include devices such as modems, network interface cards, relevant software, networking hubs, memory, cables, and other related devices.

  6. Employ Trinity students and neighborhood residents in the neighborhood Cyber Cafe.

Targeted & Supported Populations in 1999

Learning Corridor schools, parents, students

TC faculty and students


Neighborhood churches, not-for-profits, schools


SINA staff and institutions


Neighborhood residents and Business within the 15 block target area


Service Areas

SNI partnered with community organizations & residents in the following neighborhoods:


  • Barry Square
  • Frog Hollow (no data)
  • South Green
  • Parkville
  • South End
  • South West
  • South End
  • Charter Oak-Zion (Below the Rocks)


And portions of the following neighborhoods:

  • Asylum Hill
  • West End
  • Downtown
  • South Meadow (no data)
  • Sheldon-Charter Oak

Community Partners

SNI Planning Committee

The members of the Smart Neighborhood planning committee are:
 

  • John Langeland, Director of Information Technology, Chairman 
  • Joseph Barber, Assistant Director, Office of Community Service 
  • Carlos Espinosa, Outreach Coordinator 
  • Benjamin Todd, Director of Smart Neighborhood Initiative 
  • Tito Victoriano, System Support/Web Designer to edit
Since its founding in 1823 at the site of the current state capitol, Trinity College has been a part of Hartford. Not surprisingly, Hartford has played an important part in teaching and learning at Trinity, and many academic programs and other activities occur in and around the City of Hartford. But in spite of this long history and significant faculty, staff, and student involvement, Trinity has viewed its relationship with Hartford with some ambivalence. This relationship became even more problematic during the 1960s and 70s as Trinity’s immediate neighborhood experienced significant decline.

In January of 1996, the College made a commitment to a comprehensive community revitalization effort — the $175-million SINA neighborhood initiative — to transform the 15-block area in which Trinity and its SINA partners are located. The centerpiece of this initiative is the learning corridor complex of schools currently under construction immediately adjacent to Trinity’s campus. At about the same time, the College initiated a strategic planning effort focused largely on the goal of maintaining the vigor and responsiveness of a Trinity liberal arts education in a changing world. The primary elements of this plan — urban experience, increased globalization, collaborative learning, and the creative use of information technology — represent Trinity’s vision of “liberal arts with a difference.”
Trinity has merged parts of these two elements — the physical renewal of its neighborhood, and a distinctive approach to liberal education — into a process that will create an extended community of learning. This five year endeavor, underwritten by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, began in the summer of 1998.

Three overarching principles guide this effort:

Critical Transformation: The new learning connections between the College and the city depend upon the integration of two transformative processes: urban revitalization and a careful rethinking of liberal education for the 21st century.

Connection: Trinity must focus on fluid and variable points of connection, rather than boundaries or fences, to define its relationship with its urban setting.

Capacity Building: Creating and sustaining an extended community of learning will require not just the construction of buildings and corridors that invite and reinforce linkages, but also fundamental changes in customary ways of thinking and acting. We must develop stronger, more inventive ways of educating students in the values of civic responsibility, and we must also assist our neighbors as they struggle to acquire the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to reactivate the tradition of neighborhood responsibility and hope.

Creating an Extended Community of Learning

There are three major areas of effort that comprise the current design for the creation of this extended community of learning:
  1. Building a Culture of Engagement
  2. Ensuring Catalytic Leadership
  3. Building linkages between the College and the neighborhood.
These efforts include:
  • The creation of a “Smart Neighborhood” in the form of an extended community of learning
  • Support for the Community Learning Initiative
  • Creation of a College-Community Innovation Fund, to encourage arts in community, science in an urban context, and education in the city
  • Support for a Cities Data Center
  • Evaluation and Administration of the Project

A comprehensive and ongoing process of evaluation of all aspects of this initiative will help shape the evolution of this project, as well as provide documentation and analysis that will be of value to Trinity, its neighbors, and other urban-based educational institutions.

The Kellogg Project Group is responsible for coordinating planning and execution of this initiative; its members can help interested individuals become involved or provide additional information.