What we do

It takes a comprehensive vision to transform a community.
Our sights are set on creating a destination that matches the residents’ spirit and aspirations.

Who We Are

The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation was founded in 1995 by Dr. Joe and Vi Jacobs, founders of Jacobs Engineering Group in Pasadena, California. As creative catalyst and incubator, we work to revitalize 60 acres in Southeastern San Diego’s Diamond Neighborhoods and focus on developing the community into a vibrant and economically sustainable destination. Our work is deeply rooted in community engagement and creative placemaking. The vision for the community was created in partnership with residents and local community organizations.

What We Do

The Jacobs Center partners with residents, local leaders and organizations, and regional and national investors to revitalize Southeastern San Diego, a culturally-diverse yet underserved area that is prime for investment and transformation. Our commitment is to the residents, to create a vibrant Diamond District through three areas of focus:

  • Physical Redevelopment: through investments in infrastructure, housing, commercial/retail, public art and recreational/green space that convey that the Diamond is a rising and connected place for future investment.
  • Education to Careers: Creating local and systems-level partnerships that offer accessible pathways for individuals seeking education and employment.
  • Local Economy: Networks that support early-stage entrepreneurs and accelerate existing neighborhood businesses.

Together these partner networks help build capacity for redevelopment in southeastern San Diego and for residents to lead locally, own community assets, and be financially sustainable

We are building off existing assets in the community, including a transit accessible location near Downtown, San Diego’s regional job growth, and partnerships with residents, community-serving organizations, and the City of San Diego.

The Diamond Neighborhoods is included in the San Diego Promise Zone and JCNI is one of six Implementing Partners that work collaboratively with one another and under City leadership, to attract private  and federal investment to leverage with local government resources to achieve comprehensive neighborhood transformation.

Our areas of focus are empowered by a strong community engagement effort we’ve put at the forefront of our work since our inception. We work with residents to build the community they have envisioned, activating spaces within each area of focus through creative placemaking projects as we work to transform them.

We believe that connecting creative community engagement and placemaking strategies within and across our areas of focus will enable us to achieve our vision of a caring community where people are responsible to each other, where all cultures are embraced, where sustaining resources are in place for a vibrant economy, and where residents create the future they envision.