Wondering how to tackle a 'split' neighbourhood, where there is often talk of 'the other side'. I know that Nordbyen in Randers, Denmark is not the only 'neighbourhood' divided by a busy road, motorway or some other physical landmark, but it would be great to hear some good stories of building communities around such challenges ... any suggestions?
I have wondered ... Should we ever try to define neighbourhood boundaries?
What happens when a neighbourhood or community is defined only to collect the necessary statistics to attract external ressources?
Can a 'them and us' mentality be an asset?
Starting with what people care about enough to act upon for the common good within their small groups and building up agency at that level, across the community is what I find works best to begin. Like in the Netherlands Henk Cornellison LSA team worked with the Antillian youth community around their passion for food and acceptance and explored how they could share with those who were judging them. Of course a stall in a local food market soon emerged as a good next step. The effort of the young people to cook and share food with those who feared or labelled them served to reframe the label many people had of these young people, who inturn began seeing them for their gifts and contributions, rather than their stereotypes. Working with people on their passions is one thing, but I think we also have to connect people across dividing lines. So like tiles in a mosaic the challenge is to then find some grouting that brings the tile together. But that begs another question which you raise how do you bring this to scale across a divided community or city?
I find innovation forums where people come to share their small scale achievements are great and provide a safe constructive space when facilitated well. I think Matching Grants is a great way of pulling this all together. Offer unconstituted groups of neighbours a chance to work in small numbers to make a difference to the neighbourhood and then bringing them together to celebrate success and plan forward for bigger initiatives. Check out Jim Diers Neighbor Power, Building Community the Seattle Way http://www.neighborpower.org/ a great read and lots of practical tips about city wide change that has sustained over twenty years he offer alot by way of insightful obervation also about what insititutions can do to be helpful-hope that's somewhat helpful in anwer to your excellent question. Thanks for sharing! Cormac