South Bronx Tomorrow

Homegrown solutions to ongoing challenges

Delia Davis stands in a small crowd of high schoolers with a mic

ver the last half-century, South Bronx residents have battled back from the arson wave that devastated the area in the 1970s, creating a new identity forged by fire.

The area’s disadvantages have been well documented: widespread poverty, food deserts, street crime, polluted air and the nation’s highest asthma rates. But the challenges have spawned lasting strengths: grit, community, culture, diversity and pride. 

The pandemic offered the latest test, hitting the South Bronx hard and setting back progress by families and businesses alike. While the COVID crisis underscored the inequities faced by area residents, it also widely revealed their courage and their vital role in providing the essential services that keep New York City running.  

As it has throughout its history, the community stepped up to meet the most pressing needs of its neighbors.

Two groups at a protest hold up signs reading: "UYC: URBAN YOUTH COLLABORATIVE" and "#POLICE FREE SCHOOLS"
Three bins full of folded clothes under a rack of donated winter coats

On the streets of the South Bronx, signs abound of a comeback from bad times once again, offering potent reminders of what makes the borough special — and spurring hope for what’s to come.

The ongoing rebirth of the South Bronx has drawn attention and respect — along with newcomers and investors — bringing the area to a crossroads.

Can homegrown solutions to evolving challenges make for a better future — and ensure a place for those fighting to make things better?

Three bins full of folded clothes under a rack of donated winter coats

While reporting for the Mott Haven Herald and Hunts Point Express, my colleagues and I have striven to tell the stories of community members working hard to make a difference — people who defy stereotypes of Bronx residents historically overlooked by our city’s leaders. 

I grew up in Hunts Point amid a pulsing positivity that exists despite steep odds. Our team found that spirit in stories chronicling everything from community groups helping their neighbors to residents banding together in the quest for affordable rents to artists taking back the old “the Bronx is burning” narrative. 

It all adds up to a vibrant community rising from the ashes while laying the groundwork for the South Bronx of tomorrow.

Anacaona Rodriguez Martinez
Project Manager  


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