JPNSI’s work began 15 years ago at 223 Jane Place with the formation of Nowe Miasto (No’vay Mee’ah’sto). Polish for ‘new city,’ Nowe Miasto was originally conceived as collective living, performance, art, and community space in the spring of 1999. Serving as an organizing hub for local activists from 1999 to 2005, the three-story, 11,000 square foot converted warehouse space became an incubator, sustainer, and supporter of community-based projects that utilized the building for various activities and events such as meeting, art, and work spaces, as well as fundraisers, performances, conference housing, gardening projects, workshops, and lecture series.
During the summer of 2005, supporters of Nowe Miasto established Jane Place LLC. Jane Place LLC purchased the warehouse building at 223 Jane Place, with the goal of transforming the space from a loose collective of housemates, activists, and artistic collaborators into a Limited Equity Housing Cooperative (LEHC)—a democratic and shared-equity approach to resident controlled housing.
Two months after the purchase of the building, Hurricane Katrina and its floodwaters threw the plans into disarray, with the building immersed in seven feet of water for two weeks and the roof torn off. During the recovery period, Nowe Miasto’s mission of promoting art, music, and activism shifted to include housing affordability and community controlled development. With a broadened vision, the remaining members and supporters of Nowe Miasto expanded the mission beyond 223 Jane Place to promote safe, affordable, sustain- able, and self-determined communities. Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative (JPNSI) was officially formed in December of 2008. In early 2010, the building at 2739 Palmyra Street was purchased.