“Just as there is no one-size-fits all neighborhood, there is no single solution to creating quality communities.”
says it best: “We know what we need where we live”.
For too long the planning profession imposed “solutions” on communities from the position of a detached outsider that allegedly “knew better” what communities needed.
Here in Buffalo Niagara, and across the country, we have seen the disastrous results of that mindset.
Thankfully this dominant 20th century approach is in steep decline. In order to successfully plan for our neighborhoods, we must be sure that we are planning with and not for communities.
At its core, Complete Communities for a Changing Region, emphasizes this fundamental shift in how to build and rebuild neighborhoods.
Guiding advice along the way — like that from the Legacy Cities initiative to build from strength, change the investment climate, invest in human capital and promote density — provides neighbors and planners a solid framework for identifying their local assets and putting together action plans to improve their communities according to their shared vision.
Highlighting another best practice for resident engagement and community control, Clean Air
has been promoting and practicing Participatory Budgeting
throughout the region. This effective tool for direct democracy has been used throughout the hemisphere to dramatic results.
With communities first hand local knowledge and planners technical skills, neighborhoods can make tremendous progress even in the most unlikely circumstances.
It is an exciting time to be rethinking planning in Buffalo Niagara and striving to build opportunity-rich neighborhoods for all.
Complete Communities Strategies:
A. Emphasize community based planning with residents and stakeholders to maximize participation, leverage diffuse resources and focus on quality of life improvements.
B. Focus and coordinate public investments in neighborhoods with strategic assets and coordinate public policy and capital investment priorities with local plans to create complete neighborhoods.
C. Leverage the energy of new demographic groups. Neighborhood planning should embrace the potential for immigrant communities, artists, or other groups to lead regeneration efforts and use unique ethnic, cultural or occupational identities to leverage investment and economic development.
D. Design alternative long-term strategies for areas where disinvestment has left few of the assets, anchors and actors that are needed to power successful neighborhood revitalization. These neighborhoods need active management of community change, driven by local residents and a firm understanding of the existing market potential.
The full Complete Communities for a Changing Region report is available here.
Complete Communities Strategy Theme 1: Data for Informed Decision Making
Complete Communities Strategy Theme 2: Anticipate, Accommodate and Embrace Demographic Shifts.
Complete Communities Strategy Theme 4: Get better at doing good