Bridges

Bridges Spring 2016

Bridges is a quarterly review of regional community and economic development issues, projects and regulatory changes for practitioners from community-based organizations, as well as for Community Reinvestment Act officers, academics and government of

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I N D E X T H E F E D E R A L R E S E R V E B A N K o f S T . L O U I S | C E N T R A L T O A M E R I C A ' S E C O N O M Y S P R I N G 2 0 1 6 7 From Restaurant to Kitchen Incubator: Chef Space 5 10 Bioscience as a Foundation for Transforming St. Louis cdac spotlight What Happens When the Least of These Gives the Most? >> continued on Page 3 By Amy Whitehead and Josh Markham I n the field of community devel- opment, there are alternative approaches to traditional strategic planning that embrace an asset-based, action-oriented approach to the com- munity visioning and planning pro- cess. Several communities in Arkansas are seeing early signs of success in their community development efforts by using action-based planning models. Strategic planning for communities is often approached as if communi- ties are organizations; however, they are not. Communities are comprised of people loosely connected by their relationships, interests and geographic proximity. Organizations are regularly run through a top-down hierarchal approach, which is not always best suited to communities trying to organize a community-based plan. While traditional strategic planning can be effective for certain communi- ties, this type of planning is frequently consultant-driven and expensive and, in the end, communities are not always prepared to implement the plan. Under-resourced and rural com- munities may struggle to afford an expensive consultant, but they do have engaged local participants. By focus- ing on planning and doing simulta- neously, communities can actively involve their members throughout the process. Taking an approach that leads to quick wins has the added advantage of building trust and foster- ing the development of the social Arkansas Communities Focus on Action, Reap Results capital needed to implement long-term development. Communities should not delay in taking action on key priorities because they feel compelled to follow a traditional linear planning process. ere are effective methods for low- cost community-based planning that encourage short-term wins and support long-term development efforts, while also emphasizing the development of social capital. A short-term win for Paris, Ark.: Installation of the landmark replica in the new Eiffel Tower Park.

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