In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a former high school—currently vacant and covered in graffiti—will soon be transformed into an eco-village with housing, commercial and coworking space for young entrepreneurs, and food grown on-site. It’s the first development project from The Bridge, a startup that plans to build similar developments in under-resourced neighborhoods in other cities.
Harrisburg “is the epitome of systematic oppression,” says Garry Gilliam, an NFL veteran and Harrisburg native who cofounded The Bridge with childhood friend Corey Dupree. “I’ll call it how it is.” The city, which is the state capital, has a poverty rate of around 30%, far higher than the average in Pennsylvania. Its Black residents are nearly twice as likely to live in poverty than white residents.