Listening to the Community

The Vikings weren't known for their empathetic listening skills. Unfortunately community developers aren't either. Communities are often developed by outsiders who bring preconceived ideas about what the community needs based upon demographic research that supports their own ideals. When their development efforts are not received by the community, the neighborhood is labeled as being unappreciative and difficult to work with. By listening to a community, evoking their vision for a preferred future, and utilizing assets and abilities latent within the community itself, neighborhood leaders are empowered to address the concerns that they themselves have prioritized. The results have more staying power because the community strategy not only addresses the needs prioritized by the community, but residents have more ownership throughout the process.

This humorous video published by RIghtnow Media demonstrates the unintended consequences of community development efforts that are not shaped the residents themselves.

Nathan Cook