Across our cities leaders, organizations, and institutions are looking for new ways to achieve sustainable and comprehensive community development. This renewed interest in a holistic approach to development is reminiscent of the original community development legislation passed in 1968 that focused simultaneously on political empowerment, education, the arts and culture, housing and economic development, and social equity and opportunity.
Finding a path to new and lasting change could not be more imperative than at this moment as hard-won gains in equity and opportunity are currently being diminished by our economic crisis and budget shortfalls that are squeezing education, public infrastructure investment, and community resources. Today, it is vital that we find new ways to work across disciplines, scales, and issues to develop innovative strategies for positive change in our communities. This means looking for new models of economic development such as co-operatives, finding new ways to develop quality affordable housing, for example by mixing models and programs, creating new opportunities for us to come together as citizens, not as consumers, identifying existing skills and resources in our communities as a means to shape and create new jobs, and working towards achieving sustainability in its fullest and most meaningful definition―which includes achieving a balance between equity, economy, and ecology in all that we do.
Together we can develop participatory, proactive, and asset-based community processes and strategies that have the potential to point us towards opportunities for meaningful and sustainable change. To this end the Collaborative Community Design Initiative is a program founded on interdisciplinary problem-solving, community engagement, partnerships, and broad-based participation that provides one model for new ways of acting and thinking about our communities. This publication, the second in our series, is intended to be a guide for change in our four partner communities―Alief, Golfcrest | Bellfort | Reveille, Greenspoint, and Mid-West―as well as point to potential strategies and tactics in communities across the country that are facing similar challenges.
The Collaborative Community Design Initiative is generously funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Houston Arts Alliance, and the Architecture Center Houston Foundation. If you would like a copy of the publication please email Susan Rogers firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and mailing address.