At Enterprise Community Partners, we believe that listening to the perspectives of the people in a community is critical to the change process.
To help make this essential work a bit easier, we’ve searched across the U.S. to find a variety of resources and methods we think are the best suited to help you engage with residents, stakeholders and community developers to better address the challenges in your community. These resources have been collected into the Community Engagement Toolkit, which is part of the Listen tool of Opportunity360.
We are constantly on the search for new and proven resources and strategies to add to the Toolkit. Do you have a tool that you’d like to see included? Please let us know.
Think about what you’d like to accomplish:
Do you need help with creating a resident survey, or starting a neighborhood discussion around proposed development? Maybe you’ve seen how storymapping can be a powerful tool for change, and would like to bring that to your community. Start with the Find a Tool box on the home page, to get the most results. If you prefer, you can also use the Advanced Search page to find resources by keyword, or by specific issue areas or target area scale (e.g., city, neighborhood or region.)
Once you’ve found a tool that looks interesting, you can find out more about its best uses, a brief description of the tool, the skills needed to use the tool, and a link to access it. Cost information is also provided where applicable.
Building a Neighborhood for Learning: the Boston Promise Initiative
Long-term economic opportunity and well-being depend on years of learning and education, which are, in turn, influenced by access to health and social services, family and community support, early childhood development and much more. The Boston Promise Initiative (BPI) formed in 2012 to connect these dots in the Roxbury and North Dorchester neighborhoods, Led by the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), BPI formed the Dudley Village Campus—a core neighborhood with three population centers and more than 24,000 residents. Residents and community leaders now organize projects and outcomes in five key areas: investments in neighborhood change, school-ready children, successful students and schools, post-secondary completion and career readiness, and strong and healthy families.
Expanding Regional Opportunity: New River Valley Livability Initiative
Virginia’s New River Valley (NRV) is a sprawling and diverse region with remote Appalachian towns and bustling cities. In 2011, a large coalition of partners launched a comprehensive regional conversation about a vision for the future and ways to improve opportunity across the board—from health to housing, energy to economy. The process emphasized deep community dialogues and creative activities that allowed residents to understand different perspectives and find common ground. It also highlighted the connections and tradeoffs between elements of opportunity (health, environment, economy) and specific policies or strategies.
The process combined that dialogue with extensive data analysis, mapping and scenario development, prioritization and action planning. But it did not end there: The Livability in Action initiative is now rapidly moving projects forward through strategic partnerships and collaborations among agencies, towns, funders and local organizations.
Crowdsourcing Street Improvements: Re-Imagine West Colfax
In 2015, the West Colfax Business Improvement District teamed with Radian | Placematters and other partners to launch “Re-Imagine West Colfax”—a process to engage neighborhood residents, gather data on first and final mile infrastructure and then test and prioritize improvements. One effort focused on the West Colfax Business Improvement District, where Placematters used a mobile app called WALKscope and a series of WalkShops (walking workshops) to crowdsource data and ideas from residents. After analyzing the data, they organized a design charrette to develop potential improvements. Finally, they showcased pop-up versions of those improvements in a public event, where more than 600 people gave input and helped prioritize permanent changes.
Envisioning the Future: A Strategic Framework for Neighborhood Revitalization
In the wake of major population loss and disinvestment, many of Detroit’s neighborhoods need to radically reinvent themselves and identify new areas of opportunity that are compatible with residents’ visions for the future. With planning departments overtaxed, the Neighborhood Revitalization Strategic Framework gives residents the tools to identify a shared vision and a pathway to achieving it.
Vermont Farm to School Network: Connecting Classrooms, Cafeterias, and Communities
A cross-sector coalition in Vermont is working together to make progress on critical statewide issues: childhood hunger and nutrition, education, obesity and wellness, farm viability and environmental quality. Sixty statewide partners are collaborating to understand these complex challenges and advance solutions together—much faster than they could alone.