The Five Values of Regenerating Communities: It’s not what you think

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The Five Values of Regenerating Communities: It’s not what you think

In the realm of regenerating cities in support of economic growth and development, we tend to focus heavily on tax incentives, business climate, government regulation, quality schools etc., all of which are important and will continue to be critical but are necessarily what’s driving urban growth and regeneration in the 21st century.

There are critical value a community must have that will have an impact both the short and long term regeneration of communities. At the heart of this foundation lie five values that are not traditional in the sense of what we think about when it comes to urban regeneration. These five values ultimately hold the key to our success and must be part of driving any strategy and local policy implementation.

Creativity and “PLACE” has become the driving force that will propel economic growth and development of cities. That this community is neither “anyplace” nor “no place” but “someplace,” not duplicated anywhere. This becomes the driver of the competitive advantage of the community. Striping it away neutralizes the competitive advantage.

Community Brand Identity What you stand for as a community matters.  This identity drives vision, policy and action and how the community responds to challenges.

Community Evolution Communities will neither be frozen in terms of their leadership approach to addressing pressing challenges nor will they look like they were built yesterday. The community should constantly seek to evolve and expand its capacity to address challenges to its social and economic potential. The should be expressed through leadership local policy and strategy implementation.

Community Ownership If there needs to be responsibility exercised at the local level to create and benefit from economic growth, then there has to be a sense of ownership of the community by its citizens and all sectors led by engaged citizens.

Sense of Community A sense of ownership acknowledges an individual benefit from, an individual stake in, and an individual responsibility for one’s place. A sense of community acknowledges the obligations to and interconnections with the other residents of that place. Without a strong sense of community it’s difficult to manage wicked problems within the community.

The key point I am making here is that when thinking about regenerating a community you have to ask yourself and your community stakeholders if these values are present in your community and serve as the basis of your regeneration strategy. If not, you have a lot of work ahead of you and need to figure out as a community how to get there sooner than later.

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