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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions


Cornell in Washington Partners with 11th Street Bridge Park to Build Inclusive Communities

by Shelley Preston,
Cornell University's School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions, April 26, 2018

The Anacostia River has long divided Washington D.C. by race and access to opportunity. On one side is affluent Capitol Hill; on the other is a food desert with one grocery store and few services.

In 2019, however, Washington D.C.’s first elevated bridge park will open, literally connecting the two communities. And organizers hope the project will become a catalyzing force for equitable development for all of the District’s residents.

Cornell in Washington (CIW), a program in which students “live, learn and intern” in D.C. for a semester, recently partnered with 11th Street Bridge Park, a project spearheaded by the non-profit organization Building Bridges Across the River, to implement inclusive, community-led development plans for the Anacostia neighborhood.

CIW’s new engaged learning course — ALS 4100 Community-based Research in D.C. — will link students with 11th Street Bridge Park staff and community leaders to work on needs such as planning urban gardens, organizing civic events, and building capacity in neighborhoods traditionally excluded from the city’s economic progress.

Dr. Katie Crosley Beem, the CIW faculty member teaching the course, said, “Students will get to be active participants in these communities and will have the opportunity to contribute knowledge in a meaningful way.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Cornell,” said Scott Kratz, the director of Building Bridges Across the River, “CIW will bring added insight and resources to our mission to create a community-driven development plan for the 11th Street Bridge. We look forward to students engaging with D.C. residents and tackling these issues to ensure residents can thrive in place. These equity investments can become a model for the rest of the city and indeed the country.”

For more information about the partnership or about Cornell in Washington, go to or contact Kimberly Niefer at