It’s not just bricks and mortar

22 Feb It’s not just bricks and mortar

For quite some time, past and current city councils have struggled with the  importance of maintaining the demographic diversity of the City’s historic neighborhood known as the Northwest Quadrant.  The city, along with the Historic Beaufort Foundation, Habitat for Humanity,  the Beaufort Housing Authority, local churches, individuals and businesses have invested dollars in buildings and infrastructure to incentivize development.  To some extent it is working for those who seek to retire in Beaufort but not for those who grew up and live in the neighborhood.

I believe the following report from WIS TV in Columbia is instructive as we move forward. We must see beyond the walls of the historically significant houses. There are families with needs for better jobs, better after school activities for students and a broader level of civic engagement. While we have focused on the bricks and mortar, we have to look deeper and face the broader challenge.

Excerpts from the report:

“What this study indicates is that it takes a more comprehensive approach to planning for neighborhood redevelopment to truly improve lives. Planning for the physical appearance of a neighborhood is important, but equally important is engaging citizens to learn what programs and services they need.”

“Key among the report’s 13 findings is the requirement that local governments consider the economic and social needs of public housing residents to ensure successful transformation of the greater neighborhood. Traditional neighborhood improvement planning focuses largely on the built environment. Based on the three report case studies, however, improving the lives of public housing and neighborhood residents requires strategic planning around the delivery of social and economic services as well.”

“Transformation planning requires considering how to create new economic and social opportunities for neighborhood residents,” Ms. Fleming continued. “Local governments have an important role to play in identifying neighborhood needs and engaging stakeholders including residents, nonprofit organizations, and community groups to create lasting change.”

To read the entire story:

Local Governments Must Engage Residents to Transform Distressed Neighborhoods