Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Economy and Neighborhoods

Foreclosures, unemployment and a weak economy are wreaking havoc in neighborhoods and families across the country. What can neighborhood organizations do while under economic siege?

Here are a few ideas:
Organize! Fight crime, tutor students, improve parks, and protect neighborhoods against the threats that come with tough times.
Communicate. Educate and inform residents, public officials, and investors about what’s good in the ‘hood. Use organizing, websites, blogs, and e-newsletters to nurture and sustain relationships necessary to build community.
Expand capacity of leaders and staff . Grow skills and technology to organize, communicate, develop, and raise funds in today’s (and tomorrow’s) environment.
Tighten the belt. Focus on the core mission – a necessity now, but a discipline that always pays off.
Build a project pipeline that will be shovel-ready when the economy revives. Do research, complete designs, prepare pro formas, and establish community support.
Think green. Future job growth, many predict, will emanate from green technology.
Identify infrastructure needs – physical and social – and advocate for them.

Public funds soon will flow to rebuild our infrastructure. Communities that are well-organized and "investment-ready" stand the best chance of getting those resources -- and bouncing back first when the economy rebounds.

It won't be easy, but we can't just wait around and do nothing, can we? What are your ideas?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is excellent advice. Private developers do this every time there's a downturn, lining up their next projects and getting ready to jump back in as soon as conditions are right.