Toolkit: Identify both problems and solutions

Identify both problems and solutions

It’s not unusual for a neighborhood to come together because of a problem: graffiti and vandalism, vacant properties and crime, traffic, code violations and noise. These issues are so important. But it’s just as important to remember that neighbors don’t share a single identity, defined solely by their problems.

North Shore Triangle neighbors are interviewing neighbors and collecting stories and information for a community history project.

Begin with a neighborhood inventory: information from willing residents, types of homes. Find local businesses, church and other community sites, schools, parks. But don’t forget that it’s people that make a neighborhood, and an inventory of their many skills, hobbies, interests and ideas is the key. High-school artists, retired carpenters, accounting professionals, grandmothers and ex-offenders, grad students and shade-tree mechanics: they’re all likely to live here, and have something special to offer.

So be sure to “map” all the neighborhood assets in your new association. Later, you may even wish to create a shared database so that neighbors know who teaches piano, fixes downspouts or knows CPR.

Sunnymede neighbors, including Rev. Dante Newbill of Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, left, learn CPR during an annual neighborhood event.

When you’ve collected all the information, you can start developing a neighborhood association plan. An asset-mapping guide from policylink.org is linked here, but there are many others available too.

Neighborhood plan