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The work of building a community begins with old-fashioned organizing, sophisticated relationship building and a diverse “big tent” approach.

Only by bringing a wide range of people to the discussion, and by enabling them to shape and own what is being decided, do we build the critical mass of doers and supporters needed to drive neighborhood change. 

Different constituencies are engaged in different ways. Rallies and public hearings may be good to alert the wider community and spur popular support. But other key supporters, such as a bank president or block club leader, are better recruited via personal outreach. Hard-to-reach constituencies such as teenagers are more likely to be drawn to a wall mural project or a concert. 

The tools in this section provide a broad range of strategies and approaches to engage, organize and build community.

Institute Articles

Read our coverage of Engaging issues and ideas in the In The News section of this website.

Practitioner Resources

Going Back To the Engagement Drawing Board
What to do when community engagement is not as easy as it sounds
Living Cities Introduces New Urban Practice Toolbox
Innovative tools and resources help leaders and practitioners work together to improve the lives of low-income people
Community Meeting How-To's (and How-Not-To's)
Beware the microphone hog, the Debbie Downer and the community meeting that's not really a community meeting.
"Neighboring Toolkit: A Guide to Implementing Neighboring and Its Asset-Based Community Development Principles"
A range of tools and links to resources for organizations seeking to bring "neighboring" into a community and integrate it into existing programming.
Jim Capraro's One-on-one Engagement Interviews
The steps to follow in one-on-one engagement interviews in the comprehensive community development process.
Outline of the CCD Process
An overview of the stages to consider to create a robust quality-of-life plan.
"Comprehensive Community Development in Rural Settings"
Developing and implementing a comprehensive comunity development program in a small town or rural setting.
LISC Experts Online: "Organizing for safety"
A discussion about tackling major barriers to collaboration between community members and police.
Reflections on Community Organizing and Resident Engagement in the Rebuilding Communities Initiative
This report defines the essential capacities for effective community organizing and outlines four major barriers to resident engagement, based on experiences from an early comprehensive community…
Reflections on Community Organizing and Resident Engagement in the Rebuilding Communities Initiative
Understand the role and practice of community organizing and resident engagement in the context of the Rebuilding Communities Initiative.
"Left Behind in Sandtown"
The results of one of the first efforts to tackle community development at a comprehensive level.
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