Nikuyah Walker

Nikuyah Walker


Nikuyah Walker is the mayor of Charlottesville, and in her second year as City Councilor. Born and raised in the city, Walker has worked for non-profits and the city for most of her career. She lived in Friendship Court from 1998-2005.


Do you have concerns about intentional mixed-income communities?

Will adding market-rate units to Friendship Court result in a gradual displacement of residents?

Who does Friendship Court belong to?

What do you think of residents’ argument that moving market-rate neighbors in will de-stigmatize Friendship Court?

Do you feel like this is assimilation by another name?

What worries do you have about the resident-engagement process with PHA at this point?

What concerns do you have about adding 150 market-rate units to Friendship Court?

Do intentionally mixed income communities work in Charlottesville?

There are a pair of 9-story buildings being built down the street…

Should mixed-income housing be built in wealthier neighborhoods?

Is intentional mixed-income an inadvertent request for assimilation? Why do people assimilate?

Do we need to re-examine how housing and development is done in the city?

Are market-rate units an attempt to subsidize the maintenance of low-income units?

How does history impact the landscape of housing today?

Do we need to look at who has benefited from the status quo?

What was moving into Garrett Square like for you in 1998?

How are residents in Friendship Court treated differently than others in Charlottesville?

Did you experience discrimination while you lived in Garrett Square?

What do you think about the businesses surrounding Friendship Court now?

The Reimagining of Friendship Court

By Jordy Yager

The redevelopment of Friendship Court is slated to be the largest new construction of low-income housing undertaken in Charlottesville in more than two decades. The plan alone is groundbreaking, having been directly created by current Section 8 residents in partnership with Piedmont Housing Alliance. City staff calls it the most nuanced and complex plan they’ve ever encountered. It ambitiously attempts to balance promises of zero resident displacement with the city’s broader affordable housing needs, while also calling for hundreds of new, likely higher-income, residents to move in, as residents hope to de-stigmatize the lasting effects of poverty born out of generations of racist government policy and neglect.

This year will be the make-or-break year for Friendship Court’s redevelopment efforts. Millions of dollars in city, federal, and private funding stand between the massive plan and the highly anticipated 2020 groundbreaking. And while the green lights have begun to align and most residents are excited, the plan has its critics — those who call for greater levels of resident autonomy, greater security measures to guard against social and cultural displacement, and greater reparations for past wrongs.

In crafting this project, we’ve tried to tackle all of this and more by separating the longer narratives into five major questions:

Part 1: What is the plan?
Part 2: How did we get here?
Part 3: Does mixed-income housing work?
Part 4: Who does Friendship Court belong to?
Part 5: What’s next?

But we also wanted to give you access to as much of our reporting as possible, so we’ve created a timeline that details the history of this area, dating back 150 years, through the use of more than 130 maps, documents, archived articles, and photographs. Similarly, we wanted you to actually hear each of the two dozen long-form interviews we conducted, and not merely the portions we’ve included in the individual stories. So we’ve included more than 300 audio clips throughout the story: in the articles, the timeline, and on each person’s profile page. Our hope is that with all this, more of the picture will begin to emerge, and that, as we stand ready to make powerful and significant changes in the city, we all can help craft the solutions.