Community development in your neighborhood, town, or city is a term we use for the fascinating work of creating better communities bit by bit. The partners who have participated in writing this site are all seasoned urban planning professionals who enjoy helping you improve your particular geographic place, whether that is a rural enclave, a quaint village, a growing small city, or a major metropolis.
Our goal is to talk about common community and neighborhood issues with uncommon candor, a point of view, and a sense of humor.
The community improvement concepts and specifics found here are practical for those who find themselves appointed or elected to a planning commission, board of adjustment, town council, neighborhood association board, or water district board, for example.
For example, we're ruthless about pointing out the silliest things that are recommended to everyone from mayors to small town chambers of commerce for community economic development.
We're not interested in getting lost in theories about city or town planning or urban or rural development, but we do try to explain the jargon that professionals use so you can understand what they are saying and then apply your common sense to their advice.
We're conversational in sharing our experience and research.
If you are a novice in this kind of activity, you may want to read about our very broad definition of community development, and an overview of the field. Typically housing, especially issues dealing with affordability and how to deal with an aging or poorly maintained neighborhoods, has been considered very closely linked with community development. We don't disagree; we just think there are many more topics to be concerned about.
If you are more action-oriented and want to begin with comparatively simple community development projects, you could try some community beautification.
The truly ambitious among you may want to make your community organizations more effective, or perhaps form a new one. We can help with that not-so-simple project. Often in urban areas, the urge for a new neighborhood association arises as part of a major need for crime prevention. But there are many other good reasons to increase trust and problem-solving ability among neighbors as well.
Almost everyone is concerned about economic development. We try our best to persuade you to concentrate on real increase in the community's net income inflow. We are really outspoken about the need to speak clearly and realistically about these matters.
You all will benefit from thoughtful city planning. As we explain in more detail on the site, someone is always making plans for your village, town, or city, but those of us who care about outcomes want to make sure that that someone is dedicated to the public interest.
In the U.S. at least, planning is legally required to precede land use zoning, which has become quite a complex web of law and custom. We try to simplify that complex topic, while explaining where the other large body of municipal law, code enforcement, fits in. Then we have to deal with those places that have decided that zoning gives government too much power, favoring deed restrictions or private covenants instead.
Last and importantly, we've included a group of pages about environmental sustainability because many neighborhood associations and city governments are talking about how to address these issues locally. Chief among worthwhile strategies for contributing to better global and local environmental outcomes are dealing with suburban sprawl and inventing a sophisticated redevelopment program and policy.
Let's get started. Logical thinkers, check out the sitemap. Please explore the site.