We are currently working with our city to update our neighborhood plan. This is an area where we have a LOT of opinions. It made me think about how much we’ve learned since we started the Neighboring Movement. I remember early on thinking, “I have no clue how to create a neighborhood plan.” I still don’t have all of it figured out but I am more certain about some of the boundaries and commitments I believe our plan should include.
1. I want our neighborhood plan to be more than a task list. That is what we had last time. It was helpful to know what needed to be done in the neighborhood, but it left us feeling at the whim of the people who could “fix” our problems and did nothing to help the neighborhood have a vision for itself.
2. I want our neighborhood plan to engage all the neighbors. The last plan only represented 75 voices of 11,000 that live in our neighborhood. Especially as our neighborhood grows more diverse racially and ethnically I want all the voices to get a chance to shape the neighborhood.
3. I am less concerned about the outcomes and more about the process. In the end we will have a document with some ideas of how to move forward. It’s tempting to get hung up on what makes it or doesn’t into those final pages, however, if we have a good process then the final result will reflect our preferred future.
4. I want the plan to be about individuals and associations and not businesses and institutions. Power comes from the people. If we simply make a really nice wish list for our city officials this will be a failed plan. Instead we must engage and activate individuals who live in the neighborhood. We are the ones who shape our community….not our elected officials.
We are at the beginning stages of the planning process, but we will try and keep you updated. So far we are excited and grateful for the chance to shape our little part of the world.