Letter from the Publisher
More than a decade ago, LISC began approaching community development in a way that’s different, both from what came before, and from what many theorists advocate today.
Unlike traditional community development, which focuses largely on real estate development, we run the gamut from housing and commercial development to sports and health care. Unlike traditional federal government programs, with carefully tended (and jealously defended) resources for housing, transportation, job training, etc., we believe in a comprehensive approach where programs and activities are place-based, strategic, and integrated. And unlike many of today’s policy discussants who preach the gospel of metropolitan and regional development but fail to articulate the need to integrate neighborhoods in regional development strategies, we believe that the metropolis is only as strong as its neighborhoods, and that one ignores neighborhood development at the peril of the regional economy.
The idea of creating the Institute for Comprehensive Community Development grew from a notion that our colleague Jim Capraro had a few years ago. Its purpose is to share, and to debate, the lessons we and others are learning as we pursue this community-based, comprehensive approach, and to explore the policy implications. Our thinking is based on our experience, and on the thousands of different relationships that form the web of community development in cities that pursue the same approach.
This new Journal advances the work of the Institute by:
- communicating outstanding theory and practice in the field
- sharing the lessons of research and evaluation
- providing a forum for robust debate about the model itself and the challenges and opportunities faced by its practitioners
- exploring policy implications, with a goal to building stronger public policies to support comprehensive community development
- building the community of those engaged in this work
The Journal will, we hope, position the Institute as the thought-leader in our field and as the go-to place to learn about and think about what it takes to transform neighborhoods in America. It’s an exciting if not daunting new venture for all of us, but it’s never been more important to our field. As I remark in an accompanying essay about platform development, even with a friendly administration in Washington, it’s still really up to us to make development happen in ways that genuinely empower people and transform neighborhoods.
I hope that some of our experience and especially our current thinking on these matters will stimulate your own thinking, and that you will respond to what you read here. We all have much to learn from each other. And we have much to do.
Managing Director, The Institute for Comprehensive Community Development
This article appeared in the inaugural issue of The Journal of the Institute for Comprehensive Community Development, December 2010. Download the full issue.
Posted in Journal Inaugural Issue: December 2010