Where People Become the Policy Makers
In the Spring of each year, PUSH holds a huge Community Planning Congress in the Green Development Zone. The several hundred people in attendance learn about the previous year’s progress in the Zone and then roll up their sleeves to shape plans for the the upcoming year and beyond.
The Planning Congress typically begins with residents packing into the Butler-Mitchell Boys & Girls Club gym to hear reports from community leaders, staff and experts. Then, in smaller break-out sessions, attendees go over proposals and ideas with a more fine-toothed comb before assembling again for multiple wrap-up sessions.
It was during a Planning Congress that the Green Development Zone came into existence in 2007 and 2008.
An astonishing variety of people agreed that relying solely on governments and companies to make policy decisions was not going to take the neighborhood anywhere except further into the morass. The neighborhood’s residents themselves would have to step forward as planners and policy makers. The community would have to take control of its own housing, its land, its infrastructure, and its vision for the future.
The Community Planning Congresses have been enormously productive. Along with help from architects Kevin Connors and Charles Gordon, the first Congress in 2007 laid out the boundaries, priorities and a basic plan for the development of the Zone.
Successes have built upon successes and residents can now claim a strong sense of ownership and pride in the amazing turnaround of their neighborhood.
Read the Planning Report adopted at the April 2012 Planning Congress for more information.