Visitors' Community Development Ideas, Clean Ups, and Projects

The community development ideas section of the website allows visitors to describe their nominations for best places, events, and programs.

Here's a chance for you to brag about your terrific neighborhood, project, or opinion related to the content of this site. You can upload photos and graphics to illustrate your point too.

Then when we're all tired of hearing about the ambitious spring  clean-ups and economic development projects, let's talk about big community development ideas: plans that can be implemented, what to do about sprawl, improving urban design, community improvement programs and events, redevelopments that work, and how conditions around the world vary from the U.S. where this is being written.

Just to prime the pump, here's a list of our top six community development ideas:

1. Approach organizing your neighborhood or area through an asset-based community development exercise--either identifying the assets for the first time, or if you've already done that, create an interesting festival or kids' activity around that asset. Negativity brings out negative people. Often it's problem-based thinking that enables neighborhood organizing, but shift gears toward assets as soon as possible.

2. Change your project list to be more realistic about your expectations that someone else will provide your community with what it wants. If you want a grocery store but are woefully under the population and income numbers that grocery stores want in your area, forget it and work on a more productive alternative for bringing healthy food to your neighborhood.

3. Be strategic. What one thing would make the most difference to your village? Think of places revolutionized by one cell phone per village. If you already have the cell phone but no road, how can you get that road? If you live in a neighborhood surrounded by richer neighborhoods, what one thing can you do to get them interested in lending a helping hand?

4. Resolve to get along with each other, figure out a "home base" that you can all agree on, and then make a signal to call someone back to home base when your consensus is threatened. If you have factions and bickering, spend a Saturday morning figuring out one activity on which you can agree. Systematically ignore style and personality differences; pay attention only to policy differences.

5. Figure out low cost ways to get high benefit results. Whether you do or you don't have money, do as much as you can for yourselves using free resources from local universities and non-profits. Use volunteer labor, and ask for donated goods and services.

6. Do something. Don't get bogged down in discussion if you are facing tough situations. Be visible; think up a quick success that everyone can see. This builds momentum like nothing else.

Using This Community Development Forum

To check out someone else's tips and photos or submit your own, click on any specific category below, and the page that opens will give you a form where you can comment, ask questions, and post photos. The last one is where everything else belongs (and also where you can disagree with any of our six community development project ideas above). If themes emerge there, we'll break them out separately also. You can comment on and rate the community development ideas too.

So let's have fun learning from each other.

Best Street Party

Block parties, neighborhood gatherings, and street festivals of all sizes build community. We've set up a page where you can share your photos (up to four) and also a paragraph about the party and what it meant to the community.

Tell us about your street parties.

Best Main Street

Small towns, medium-sized cities, rural places, we want to see your Main Street. (Of course that's a metaphor; the actual street name can be anything.) Whether it's historic, traditional, cute, or avant-garde, if it shows great urban design, we want to see it. Especially if it's newly refurbished. You can send photos, and should, but tell us briefly about it also.

Here's where you submit your suggestion for the best Main Street.

Best Clean-Ups

Did you or your community organization spend a morning or a month cleaning up something? Proud of your results? Let's see it.

So tell and show us about your clean up of a derelict property, stream, park, or alley? (Or maybe you re-purposed your alley?)

Best Fund-Raising Event

Most of you struggle to make a little tiny pot of money to use for neighborhood projects, but a few of you really know how to get it done. We'll start the ball rolling, but keep up the conversation by telling us the best fund raising event you know of--something suitable for a community development ideas forum, please.

Best Public Art

We were sitting around talking about our page on public art, and wondering how we could make it more, well, useful. As in Useful Community Development.

So we thought maybe we'd ask you what you think is the best public art that you've seen. Tell us where it is, why you think it's best, and anything personal you'd like to share about when you first encountered the piece.

Best Plan

OK. Now we come to the long, drawn-out, data-driven form of deciding on a shared future. Do you have a great city, neighborhood, block, or national economic plan to share with us? Preferably one with an implementation history in the making.

Describe your best plan, and remember you can send a photo, two, three, or four here also.

What's Working in Economic Development

World-wide recession. Collapse of large financial institutions. Whole countries gone bankrupt. Bail-outs and wipe-outs. Consumers maxed out. That's just some of the bad economic news for much of the developed world.

So we want to hear from you if you can add an economic development success story. Be brief and to the point, include the photos if you want, but try to say why you convey why you think this one worked. Also please tell us years or months, if you know, when various stages of the success occurred.

Lots of people will thank you if you can report in!

What's Hot in International Development?

Think the community development ideas on our website are too U.S.A.-centered? No doubt about it. That's our area of expertise.

Help us out by sharing the best international development strategies. Again we're aiming to keep this page full of current successes. You must have something to be proud of!  Educate us.

Another Opinion, Photo, or Best Practice to Share?

Here we collect examples of miscellaneous community improvement projects from our visitors and friends.

Tell us about a success or failure if it will help others. Here's where to post or see the community improvement project description, experience, or opinion.

Share Stories about Community Actions and Dynamics

This is the place for your long form tales of what happened to your neighborhood, development, organization, or block as you were trying to make your city or immediate area a better place to live.

You can share stories of successful revitalization, surviving losses of manufacturing jobs, re-purposing a shopping center, fixing up your block, or starting a neighborhood association.

Just want to sound off about sprawl, improper tax incentives for economic development, redevelopment or lack thereof, poor planning? We'll take that too.

Understand that everything that visitors submit in this section is moderated and edited to tighten it up. We want to keep this a lively space so that it will be a practical community development ideas resource for you.

> Visitor-Submitted Ideas

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