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Tool 3

Where does your project fit into history and the present?

Building a timeline with milestones and impactful events for your project, neighborhood, or city will yield insights into existing and past community needs and challenges.

Use the tool

Download a PDF with timeline instructions and tips.

Tool 3: Create a Timeline


While infrastructure reuse projects can create unprecedented benefits for neighboring communities, they can also become drivers of inequity for already marginalized groups. To avoid this, build an understanding of how your project and site are linked to legacies of racism (e.g., redlining) and how this past shapes the wants and needs of your surrounding communities today. By completing the timeline in collaboration with community members, you will be better positioned to serve, advocate for, and share power with historically marginalized communities. Seek input from community members and partners to ensure you’re capturing as much information and as many stories as possible.

Suggested timeline tools

  • Time

    Online timeline maker (free)

  • Adobe Spark

    Customizable timelines (free)

  • Canva

    Timeline samples and templates (free)

  • Microsoft Powerpoint

    Historical milestone templates

  • Timeline of Community History Examples

    Northeastern University’s Boston’s Racial Equity History Project

Developed by Harvard Graduate School of Design

Follow-Up Questions

Once you have created your timeline, ask:

  • How have surrounding communities been impacted by historic events?

  • Are there any current tensions surrounding our project that now make more sense, considering the historical context?

  • How might we use this as a tool for ongoing community engagement?

Other tools in this section

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Would you like to share your Equity Journey with the High Line Network?