Recommended resources from our Community Empowerment survey

in Best practices in community empowerment

Recap of our Best practices in Community Empowerment series.

We created a page to list those resources that were recommended to us by these friends of Our Blocks who helped us prepare for the “Someone’s Done That Already: the Best Practice of Using Best Practices” session of the Craigslist Foundation Boot Camp on Empowering Communities.

Thanks again to Kevin Harris, Richard Layman, Diane Dyson, Matt Singh, Christina Holt, Colin Gallagher, Lisa Palmer, Julian Dobson, Kevin Harris again, Mat Dryhurst, David Crowley, Barbara Pantuso, Paul Lamb, Rebecca Sanborn Stone, and Brian Fier.

Click on the image to see the full Recommended Resources page.

Recommended Resources

in Best practices in community empowerment

These resources were recommended by these Contributors who participated in our Best Practices in Community Empowerment project. The descriptions below are mainly direct quotes from the Contributors. You can browse all the articles in this series here. Click here to view all resources in our database, and to recommend your own.

More to follow …

Bringing Community Leaders Together – A Step-by-Step Guide on LikeMinded

in Best practices in community empowerment

One of the huge benefits of adopting “community building” as a hobby is that from time to time, you get to volunteer to work with real organizers. Early this year, I started to help the Council of Acorn Residents on a project they hoped would bring leaders and orgs in West Oakland more closely together. Dubbed “Solutions Salons”, the idea was to get community leaders together – with food, drink, music, and conversation – and hope something good would come of that. Like the salons of the Enlightenment, but without the hoopskirts. Initial results have been encouraging (see Oakland Local article reprinted with permission below).

The residents wanted to document the process we’re going through, so if you’d want to try it in your own neighborhood, you’d have a model you can use and improve upon. We created a project on LikeMinded called (very modestly) “Bringing Community Leaders Together – A Step-by-Step Guide“. It includes a timeline, and sample invitations, evaluations, surveys, and other docs that can give you a head start. This process has just begun, and we welcome your ideas on how to move it forward.

If you haven’t heard of LikeMinded, it’s the new platform Craigslist Foundation and the Knight Foundation launched last month, where people can share stories about what’s working to help improve communities. You can read more press reports about it here.

We’ll get into this in more detail during our “Someone’s Done That Already: the Best Practice of Using Best Practices” session of the June 2 Craigslist Foundation Boot Camp on Empowering Communities at UCSF.

Community groups make connection in West Oakland

by Jennifer Inez Ward (@oaklandscene), Oakland Local (@oaklandlocal)

Residents, community organizations and business owners gathered at the Acorn Town Center and Courtyards late last week to discuss better ways of networking and communicating as part of the Solutions Salon for West Oakland Leaders.

The event was sponsored by the Council of Acorn Residents and was the second meeting held to specifically look at new ways West Oaklanders can come together. Organizers said they wanted participants to have an opportunity to brainstorm ideas about events or projects that can foster stronger ties in the community (photos).

BRIDGE Housing and The John Stewart Company also co-sponsored the salon, which featured a wide array of West Oakland groups. Participants at the meeting included members of The Crucible, People’s Grocery and the Alameda County Youth Development office. Educators also were at the gathering including the head of the soon to open charter school, Vincent Academy.

Many organization representatives and business owners said one of the biggest challenges (more…)

Best Practice resources from Richard Layman

in Best practices in community empowerment

This is the second installment in our Best practices in Community Empowerment series.

Richard Layman, author of  Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space, is an urban/commercial district revitalization & transportation/mobility advocate and consultant, based in Washington, DC.

On the practice of hoarding/sharing best practices, Richard says: Most people think their communities are unique. Of course every place is unique. But for the most part, as systems, neighborhoods and cities operate similarly, regardless of location, although specifics vary depending on their place within their own metropolitan region, and whether or not the region is a strong or weak real estate market. By working with the ideas and best practices from other places, we can significantly reduce the time we need to improve our own places, and in turn we can contribute our learnings outward, to others in similar situations.

These are the Top 5 resources Richard recommends, and why:

Project for Public Spaces – PPS’s “How to Turn A Place Around” workshop and their “Place Game” (pdf) are great tools for improving the quality of life in communities, working from the ground up. Their monthly e-letter always has good articles.

Asset Based Community Development Institute – They publish a wide variety of workbooks (in print and online) about ground up community development that are focused on empowering people and harvesting social and organizational capital, not just money.

Community Economic Development Handbook by Mihalio Temali – Step by step guide to commercial district revitalization and local business development.

Smart Transportation Guidebook – Integrating land use and transportation planning is key to successful communities.  This guidebook provides a new framework for thinking about transportation (roads) in terms of land use context, whether the road serves the community or is important regionally, and roadside, roadway, and operating speed characteristics.

Bringing Buildings Back by Alan Mallach – This book focuses in a practical way on rebuilding value in neighborhoods and buildings, to counter disinvestment and abandonment.

This is a very short list of Richard’s favorite resources. He also sent me this link to a longer list he put together for a presentation he made last week for a workshop in Baltimore on placemaking and transit at the neighborhood level. Also check out all those links to great resources in his blog.

Next up: Diane Dyson