Community Organizing Tools

Hello, Monday! I thought it might be nice to start this week with an optimistic look at citizen involvement in planning, so here are a couple things to check out…

For those of you who want in-depth information on making your communities better, MAS has an upcoming Livable Neighborhoods Training day on September 22 at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and will run from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. They hold these training sessions periodically and there are a variety of sessions attendees can choose from, including: economic development, historic preservation and even zoning. This is a great opportunity to really understand how planning works in New York City and how regular citizens can get involved.

Speaking of citizen involvement, for those of you who might not be aware, Community Boards (CBs) are the most local form of government in New York City. As that link to Streetswiki points out, they are not always perfect. For example, one of the biggest issues is that many residents are not aware of them!

In an effort to make them better, OpenPlans designed a website, Community Board Tools, that seeks to use technology to solve some of the problems community boards face. It still seems to be a work in progress, but is definitely something to keep an eye on. They have organized it by challenges and tools. The tools don’t always exist, but putting the idea for the tool out there is definitely the first step towards getting them made.


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