Kuhio Park Neighborhood
Kuhio Park is a 22-acre, densely populated urban neighborhood located within Kalihi, a thriving community of Honolulu on the island of O’ahu. Its community is diverse, with recent immigrants from Micronesia, Samoa, Tonga, and the Philippines. Many of the Micronesian immigrants are direct descendants of victims of the open-air nuclear testing conducted by the United States in the decade following World War II, which forced entire communities to relocate and left generations of people devastated by health issues.
In an attempt at reparation, the United States established a compact with the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, granting the people of these island nations the right to live in the United States and to receive social services. The Polynesian-based society of Hawaii, and particularly Kuhio Park, has attracted many of these immigrants.
In 2013 the Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA) in partnership with the Michaels Organization, was awarded a Choice Neighborhood Initiative planning grant. This grant is focused on the redevelopment of existing public housing developments within the Kuhio Park Terrace neighborhood as well as improvements to the surrounding community. These residences are typical 1960’s low-rise public housing projects – aesthetically uninspired and isolated from the broader community.
WRNS was brought on to lead the community outreach charrette process and develop a new master plan. The master plan will serve as a roadmap for redeveloping the neighborhood and providing replacement housing to successfully integrate and connect Kuhio with its immediate surroundings and the greater Kalihi neighborhood.
The overall vision for Kalihi is a livable, sustainable, urban community with a balance of employment, residential, and recreation all located close to transit. Kalihi will become a destination place of “choice and pride,” and this goal is in perfect alignment with the vision for Kuhio Park. Pedestrian friendly and safe, the new community will enjoy more venues for sports and recreation, open space, workforce opportunities, and a mix of education, health and social services. Most critically, affordable, mixed-income housing will accommodate a variety of household types and incorporate modern amenities, accessibility, universal design and sustainability.