|By Ascala Sisk, Senior Manager |
Reposted from StableCommunities.org
NeighborWorks Rochester has partnered with residents in three neighborhoods to make exterior home improvements, address quality of life issues, and attract new residents and investment. Through this targeted “Healthy Blocks” approach, homeowners, tenants and landlords work together to create neighborhoods of value and choice.
After eight years of sponsoring “Makeover Madness” home beautification campaigns, organizing social events, planting gardens, sponsoring neighborhood clean-ups, and promoting new neighborhood branding, the Healthy Blocks approach has proven to be successful in improving physical conditions, creating pride, and fostering a community identity. For example, in “The Pocket,” a 7-block neighborhood of 750 residents in the East Main–Atlantic area, NeighborWorks Rochester has observed that physical conditions are improving, the average sales price is up 20 percent since 2008, and homes on the market sell in an average of 18 days as compared to 27 days in 2008 — all signs of a rebounding housing market.
Building on this success, NeighborWorks Rochester is considering candidates for its next two Healthy Blocks initiatives. To help with the selection and to train new staff members on the core components of this approach, NeighborWorks Rochester CEO Kim Brumber turned to David Boehlke, the nation’s leading Healthy Neighborhoods strategist. Joining them over the course of two rainy days in January 2013 were representatives from NeighborWorks Western Vermont who wanted to learn how they might apply this thinking to their own newly selected target neighborhood in the town of Rutland.
So, how do you build confidence? A lot of it has to do with image and physical conditions. Neighborhoods with houses that are reasonably well-maintained and have tidy gardens and litter-free streets instantly convey that this is a neighborhood where current residents succeed, and where future homeowners would want to buy. But according to Boehlke, the key to building confidence is engaging residents and building their capacity to manage day-to-day neighborhood issues. Ultimately, people are more likely to invest in areas where residents work together to improve the quality of life.
To learn more about the Healthy Neighborhoods approach that David Boehlke created and teaches, take a look at his monograph, Great Neighborhoods, Great Cities, written about the Healthy Neighborhoods approach in Baltimore for the Goldseker Foundation.