West Haven is located in the south-central part of Connecticut, sharing a border with New Haven. It is a coastal city with a shoreline stretching nearly 3.5 miles along the Long Island Sound—the longest publicly accessible shoreline in the state. More than 55,000 people live in West Haven. It is a solidly middle-class city with a significant number of long-time residents and a growing population of new residents from different countries.
Despite the plans for and evidence of progress in the city, especially around the University of New Haven, West Haven appears “stuck” in some places. In these places, West Haven has not adapted to economic changes. The Plan of Conservation & Development – Connecticut’s version of a master plan – presented an opportunity to comprehensively organize strategies to revitalize the city’s economy.
The resulting plan presents strategies for reinvesting in its six primary economic centers and in improving physical connections among them. The plan pays special attention to the redevelopment of the area near the shore, recommending design principles to reshape the area and contemporary zoning to replace the antiquated zoning of the past that is a major obstacle to revitalization.