Not A Neighborhoody Kind Of Person? Here’s A Video That May Help You Channel Your Inner Mr. Rogers.

Chie Davis Curator:

So you're probably wondering why you would watch a story with a boring title called "Community Engagement Mapping." But if you just listen to the first 20 seconds, it's really good. At 0:44, you'll see why this project could help a lot of people, and at 1:41, you'll know what's at stake for their mental health.

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Folks are really concerned about vacant properties and abandoned properties. People are paying attention. Folks want to be engaged, they just don't know where to go and who to talk to.

So right now we're in Shawning [SP] neighborhood and it's been an area that's had a lot of foreclosures in the last five years.

Hey again, how are you all?

Community development work begins on the porch and not in a conference room. You return there over and over and over again.

So, today we're working on a community mapping campaign, where we go out take a look at the housing stock. So, figuring out what's vacant, what's occupied, what needs renovation and what's good to go in terms of just a stable piece of property here. And the end goal is to get that information out to communities, so that they can make decisions about how their neighborhood is developed.

Cause a lot of decisions for poor neighborhoods are generally made for them, rather than by them and a lot of that occurs because there is not any data.

You know, the network has always been about how do we take data and turn that into stuff it folks can use in community for community change.

We're getting the information I need to go forth to try to get federal dollars, how to get State dollars, to get help from the city, to make a difference and save this neighborhood.

So, the first thing that we look at is occupancy.

Alright, this one looks occupied. They just need to get their newspaper.

Then we want to look and see what are the indicators of vacancy, just boarding, lots of phone books, dumping, some sort of electric tag.

Green tag means they are paying their bill on time. [laughs]

Have the utilities been shut off?

Yellow means that there's no active account at the property.

And then we want to look at the structure of the house.

Oh, oh there's, like, holes in the windows in the back.

It's a huge drain when you wake up every day and walk outside and you see a vacant house right across the street from you and it's kind of like, well, when is something going to happen? This is kind of empowering people to take ownership over that, so that we can do something together.

Next steps, after the mapping, is always to have community conversations. So, we bring them back to the community, invite the folks who went out with us, have conversations around them and then just see what can we do. What's the possibilities? What's out there? What can be done and how can we all be a part of the conversation?

Sitting around a table like this, where you get people from different perspectives.

The next step is to map again and then bring people back. A lot of these people we work with all the time, so this conversation will continue.

We could all come together and come up with some solutions.

Just, you know, walking out of here, I have three meetings set up to do something based on what we talked about today. So, that's the kind of thing that happens over and over and over again. It just keeps rolling.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

The savvy folks at Kertis Creative created and shared this video with me. They told me about the fabulous work that the Network Center for Community Change does to better communities in Louisville, Kentucky. Although the group is closing their non-profit, members are still committed to changing their neighborhoods. Keep up with their progress on Facebook.

Jun 21, 2014

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