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Neighborhoods Without Borders is new approach to solving problems

About 75 citywide community activists joined Bob Brown of Mott Park Neighborhood Association and members of the Metro Community Development in a neighborhood building experiment April 19 at the Insight Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience Auditorium, 4800 S. Saginaw St.

Brown invited activists from all sections of the city who are passionate about their community to join him in an unprecedented use of existing resources to resolve community problems.

"When you walk out of here today you'll have an action plan to work," Brown said. "We'll be using our resources to resolve our problems — what we will do about the issues we're facing. We'll create a direct action plan. There will be no more grants. We have become addicted to them. We must become the solution, stop the blame game and increase our collective impact on the good work going on in the city."

The Neighborhoods Without Borders' strategy is to use existing resources and assets to transform neighborhoods, assets that we control, Brown said.

"For the next 30 days participants will work on the action plans they develop today. Once a month for the next two years we will be meeting to answer the questions: "Where are we going and how do we get there?"

According to organizers, strategic planning is out, strategic doing is in. Strategic doing uses resources like social media to network information and resources.

Participants gathered around specific issues like community health, housing, retail renaissance, lifelong learning, arts and culture, gangs and ex-offenders, jobs and safety. Each group came up with an action plan. Some are developing new web sites, some are offering workshops or expos and others are creating networks for job seekers.

"Everyone has to take ownership," Ravi Yalamanchi, CEO of Metro Community Development, said. "We can't wait for grants — we can do this together."

 

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