Visiting Assistant Professor of Urban Studies David Lukens and rising senior Matt Powell ’22 are working together on researching Parkville Market. Parkville Market opened last year on Park Street, one mile west of the Trinity College campus. Lukens and Powell are interested in studying the interaction between Carlos Mouta, the private developer of the market; the quasi-state entity Capital Regional Development Authority (CRDA); and other leaders who came together to make the development happen.
“Parkville Market is an interesting case study to look at how local municipalities, neoliberalism, and quasi-public entities come together to move forward with neighborhood and city revitalization,” says Powell.
Lukens and Powell see the development of Parkville Market as a shift for the CRDA, which has previously focused primarily on downtown Hartford. The shift is toward a three-pronged approach to development focused on downtown, Parkville, and the area around Colt Park. Lukens notes that this approach is different from other post-industrial cities, which have focused redevelopment on one area. “It was unique for the CRDA to start a neighborhood project like Parkville Market,” adds Powell.
While it is too soon to understand the outcomes of the development of Parkville Market, Lukens and Powell are beginning to investigate the impacts. Later this summer, a survey will be distributed to Parkville Market customers via a QR code on the dining tables. “We will get demographic and geographic data from the survey to see how many of the customers are external residents. From there we can do some estimates of how much money Parkville Market brings into the area that wouldn’t have been there otherwise,” says Lukens.
Initial data, including interviews with local government and business leaders in Hartford and Parkville, indicates that there may be interesting long-term impacts from the development of Parkville Market. While the project is a different type of investment for a quasi-state agency, Lukens sees promise in the potential impacts. One such impact is the opening of a new grocery store in Parkville. Powell interviewed the owner of the supermarket, who said that Parkville Market was the reason they chose that area. Lukens also sees potential for change based on the fact that Parkville Market is bringing a lot of people into Parkville who wouldn’t be in the area otherwise. “That starts to change perceptions of Hartford over time,” says Lukens.
Powell has been learning a lot through this project and hopes to use what he has learned as an urban studies major to pursue a career in real estate. “I would love to be able to use some of the stuff I’ve learned in urban studies about what makes cities better and what cities need and integrate that into a real estate career,” says Powell.
Powell is planning to write a senior honors thesis using the Parkville Market research and Lukens hopes the two will co-author a publication later this year.