Two Ideas to Inspire Community Development

Written by Lisa Assenmacher, Communication & Training Specialist

What inspires your work? Is it hearing about innovative ways that community developers have implemented solutions that change the way we problem-solve in our own neighborhoods? Or, is it experiencing the energy and passion of people who have spent a number of years working towards similar goals? Is it sharing information with peers from across the state to share experiences?

For most of us, it is a combination of all three. That’s part of the reason why we plan our annual Destination: Vibrant Communities day of professional development. At CEDAM, we are driven to discover new opportunities to connect those in the field with ways to make our communities more equitable and sustainable places to live. When we meet individuals or find organizations that are inspiring, we want to know how they tick and learn their processes so that others can successfully adapt them to their own ideas and communities.

Then we make it our goal to bring them to you. This year, Destination: Vibrant Communities will include a full day of speakers and sessions that will help take your organization to the next level. Here’s a snapshot of two that you can engage with on November 10 in Detroit.

Amy Hovey: Leveraging Experiences and Assets for Community Development

amy-hovey-400x400There are some people who find ways to utilize every experience they’ve had to positively influence their projects, and Amy Hovey is an exceptional example of this. Amy uses her collective experiences in banking, politics and nonprofit community development to address the challenges and leverage assets in the Flint area as the Special Projects Coordinator for the Flint area for C.S. Mott Foundation. Her story is inspiring, and she will share her journey and describe her influences and the impact on her work as the opening keynote speaker.

Moreover, she will moderate a session that takes a closer look at the Flint water crisis and how we can be empowered to protect our communities. Watered Down: Why Flint’s Residents Weren’t Taken Seriously and How Do We Change that in the Future will provide an outlet for a discussion centered around emergency planning, the state of other communities in Michigan and the potential role of neighborhood-based organizations and leaders in similar catastrophes.

Gary Reiter: Changing Transit Oriented Development

reiterThere are many instances where we might feel a disconnect between ideas or conversations that should be, but aren’t, taking place. When people see opportunities to form a connection and outline a new path toward the same goal, it is certainly worth noting. Gary Reiter, Vice President of BMO Private Bank, noticed that there lacked conversation about affordable housing as part of transit-oriented development (TOD) even though TOD was occurring at a rapid pace in Indianapolis. After identifying the problem, he invested time to research a new concept for acquiring and holding land for future affordable housing developments, and worked relentlessly to lay the groundwork for what would become the TOD Fund, including partnership and fund development.

Can this type of program be useful in your community? Can your idea be a new approach to a problem in your area? Gary’s session Ideas in Transit: The Story of Vision Becoming Reality for Transit-Oriented Land Banking in Indianapolis is designed to share best practices for successfully implementing a new idea, or your customized version of a TOD program.

Join us in Detroit in November

Do these topics and speakers inspire you? Check out the full agenda here and discover other opportunities, ideas and leaders to learn from, engage with and utilize in your community. We hope to see you November 10 in Detroit!