The New Barn-Raising
This toolkit outlines a range of policies and practices through which politicians, citizens, community and civic groups, charitable foundations, unions, and businesses are endeavoring to sustain community and civic assets such as parks, theaters, libraries, art galleries, recreation centers, senior centers, and museums. The toolkit draws heavily on extensive research conducted in three U.S. metro areas — Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Baltimore — in 2012 and 2013 as well as examples gleaned from elsewhere in the United States. The research focuses on city- and state-level policies, but refers to national policies, organizations, and programs when relevant.
In the short term, the toolkit offers a range of tactics that can be used to raise awareness, money, and help but certainly no quick-fix solutions — especially for more disadvantaged neighborhoods and cities. However, over the longer-term, the toolkit plots out what needs to happen for a future in which more people use and enjoy community and civic assets. The toolkit offers novel ideas on awareness-raising, notably around the marketing of assets. It outlines a wealth of governmental and non-governmental means to fund these assets, and it provides strategic thinking around how volunteers can help. Above all else, the involvement of so many different stakeholders should augur well for the effective governance of the assets and, as a welcome by-product, strengthen peoples’ connections, pride, and engagement with their communities and cities.