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Five Ways You Can Be a Grassroots Planner

downtown greensboro during 2009 Fun Fourth

Street festivals are great examples of Grassroots Planning, bringing vibrancy to the street and exposing people to businesses and parks they may not know about. (Image Credit, Myself)

I know many of my readers are like myself. They can’t draw buildings or maps. However, they may have the time and money to go out and organize the community.  The  passion for the city is still there, but in a different way. So how can these people contribute to urban planning? Here are five ways:

  • Run for office- I know in Greensboro, 75% of the issues that come before council are related to property and zoning issues. If you don’t have the stomach for a campaign, try to get appointed to the zoning commission or the board of adjustments. You can also do like I am doing and volunteer your services for someone with this gift.
  • Join your neighborhood association. I’ve discussed the need for neighborhoods to have a neighborhood driven, low-fee group to air community concerns and provide community entertainment. If your neighborhood association is too structured (managed by an outside group that has no clue what the real needs of the neighborhood are), or non-existent, see how you can get one going.
  • Join me in the blogosphere. If you are reading this and thinking about sharing your ideas on urban planning, go ahead. The more citizen voices that exist, then more decision-makers can understand the true reach of the market for certain activities and living areas.
  • Start a business in an underused area. I’d prefer that it would be a green business, but any business that treats employees fairly or adds life to an inner city area that appears to be lifeless is good. Encourage your employees and supporters to give back to the community as well.
  • Read the Tactical Urbanism guide and get a project started- There are so many great projects in this book. Although these are mostly temporary projects, some that  have become permanent. Also, you don’t need a license or talent  just a will to see the project through and a few friends who do have the talent or license. The idea is that urbanism is not just for those with large, sweeping multi-block or acre city plans, but  plans that are smaller and cheaper and still transform and create great places.

However, because we are talking about grassroots strategies, there are plenty more ways one can get involved. Share with me your ways of getting involved in planning and urban development, besides drawing the plans themselves.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://twitter.com/SparkleSchrab98/status/99247239532249088/ @SparkleSchrab98

    Five Ways You Can Be a Grassroots Planner | The Black Urbanist: Urban design, urban planning, community developm… http://bit.ly/oJ344d

  • http://twitter.com/readsandreels/status/99571087347691521/ @readsandreels

    You too can be a grassroots planner. Adding @blackurbanist to my blogroll. http://fb.me/1c9sP9wVt

  • http://twitter.com/c_y_hardy/status/105700134674898944/ Christina Y. Hardy (@c_y_hardy)

    Great article for Moms who are considering doing more for their community: 5 Ways… http://t.co/qOddlwU via @blackurbanist

  • Lsantiago7859

    Trying to bring responsibility to our own apartment complex/neighborhood, researching how.  AM A MASS TRANSIT person from WAY BACK.  Any ideas?

    • Anonymous

      Well, just see who else is willing to sit around a meal or a few beverages and talk about neighborhood issues. Not sure how responsive your police are to the community, but I would then get them engaged to deal with any crime elements. Then I’d try going door to door and letting people know that you are concerned, here to help and welcome them at the next meeting. Here’s my post on starting a basic neighborhood association-http://www.theblackurbanist.com/2011/07/12/the-case-for-better-neighborhood-associations/. Also, houses of faith can be helpful, as they should be concerned with their surrounding community and empowering communities. Good luck!

    • Anonymous

      Well, just see who else is willing to sit around a meal or a few beverages and talk about neighborhood issues. Not sure how responsive your police are to the community, but I would then get them engaged to deal with any crime elements. Then I’d try going door to door and letting people know that you are concerned, here to help and welcome them at the next meeting. Here’s my post on starting a basic neighborhood association-http://www.theblackurbanist.com/2011/07/12/the-case-for-better-neighborhood-associations/. Also, houses of faith can be helpful, as they should be concerned with their surrounding community and empowering communities. Good luck!

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