UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT DENVER*A THESIS PROJECT BY SUSAN C. YU*SPRING SEMESTER OF 1981
11 90 A73 1981 Y82
PLANNING FOR NEIGHBORHOOD GROUPS
Prepared By Susan C. Yu
Studio III Dept. oF
Urban & Regional Planning/Community Development College of Environmental Design University of Colorado at Denver
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION....................................... 1
A. Statement of the Project............................. 2
B. Objective and Scope of the Project................... 2
II. DESIGN METHODOLOGY AND LIMITATIONS
A. The Design Approach and Methodology.................. 5
1. Methodology................................... 8
2. Interview With Neighborhood Groups........... 10
3. Interview With Neighborhood Planners.... 12
4. Literature Search............................ 12
B. Limitations ........................................ 13
III. DEFINITION OF A NEIGHBORHOOD GROUP................. 15
A. General Profile..................................... 17
1. Structure.................................... 17
2. Labor Resource............................... 18
3. Funding................................. 2 0
4. Communication Method ........................ 21
5. Age .................................... 2 4
6. Size.................................... 2 5
7. Goals ...................................... 26
8. Activities................................... 29
B. Existing and Potential Role of Neighborhood
1. Community Organizer.......................... 34
2. Information Source and Stimulator............ 38
3. Neighborhood Stabilizer...................... 41
a Physical Improvements.................. 41
k Crime and Safety....................... 41
c Community Identity..................... 42
4. Facilitator.................................. 45
5 . Representative Voice For The Neighborhood .. 48
6 . Mediator Between Neighbors and Neighborhood
V . THE DENVER NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING PROCESS
A. Denver Neighborhood Planning........................ 51
1. Roles and Responsibilities................... 52
2. The Planning Process......................... 54
3. Critique..................................... 60
VI. IDEAL NEIGHBORHOOD GROUP CONCEPT....................... 64
VII. PROPOSALS.............................................. 71
A. Developing Leadership Through Educational
1. School Age Level ........................ 74
2. Adult Level ................................. 76
3. Inter-neighborhood Level..................... 78
B. Resident Interest and Activities.................... 80
C. Requirements For General Membership and Core
D. The Neighborhood Forum.............................. 84
E. Delegation of Rights and Authority.................. 86
F. As Non-Profit Organization.......................... 88
G. Size............................................... 89
H. Information Pool................................... 91
VIII. CONCLUSION............................................. 92
VIIII. BIBLIOGRAPHY AND APPENDIX.............................. 94
In the silence and darkness: the lights reflect upon the empty streets, the alleys appear foreboding and threatening and houses are lit but padlocked. In the working hours of the day, people pass end rush by without so much as a nod to their neighbors, and sometimes deliberately avoiding each other.
Yet in this sad state of human isolation, fear and apathy, there exists this other side of brightness, of activity, of warmth and concern. Most importantly, there is evidence of the withdrawal from one's isolated state to overcome problems that beset not only oneself, but of one's fellow neighbors as well.
This other side of brightness is here in our Denver neighborhoods. The brightness is the people in our neighborhood groups. They are citizens who have been working for the past decade to make their neighborhoods a better place. Neighborhood groups are today's counterpart of the Greeks. Like the Greeks, they believe in a high degree of self-consciousness and full participation of citizens in community life. Neighborhood groups are here to set an example of how neighbors can try to work together in order to bring back that dream of living in harmony, that dream of peace and security. They are here to revive that desire for belonging; for purpose and meaning in the daily passage of life in our community.
This project was undertaken in the belief that neighborhood groups can propel us to a better quality of life. Such that their values may be better understood and appreciated, this project shall examine the roles that neighborhood groups play and relate them to the development of our city.
The objectives of this study are:
First, to gain general information and understanding of these groups their composition, age, geographical location, motivation, goals, interests and activities, and to relate them to their roles.
Second, to identify and recognize the existing and potential roles played by neighborhood groups.
Third, to arrive at the concept of the ideal neighborhood group that satisfies the philosophy of full citizen participation and the vision of its involvement in planning .
Fourth, to study how the Denver Planning Office allows for the involvement of these groups in the neighborhood's plan.
Fifth, to propose ways by which the abilities and poten-
tials of neighborhood groups can be developed and utilized.
In the City and County of Denver, 73 neighborhood areas are identified by the Planning Office for analysis purposes. These area units are delineated by census tract boundaries. Over time, the boundaries may change due to conditions such as the construction of new highways, urban renewal and major new development. The boundary may also be modified because of the resident's perception of neighborhood identity and historical affinity.
Although there exists 73 areas, the number of neighborhood groups do not correspond to it. The boundaries set by the group do not necessarily coincide with that of the Planning Office. Some groups may cover several neighborhood statistical units. Others may include only several blocks within the neighborhood. Currently, 53 neighborhood groups are registered with the Planning Office. A listing of these groups appears in Appendix A.
The extent of this project will cover only the 53 neighborhood groups in Denver. The planning process evaluated will be that employed by the Denver Neighborhood Planning Department, and as described in the "Neighborhood Planning Guide.
^Denver, CO., "Neighborhood Planning Guide" (1980)
THE DESIGN APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
The design of this project venture followed the incremental approach, or more commonly known as the art of muddling through. The objectives of the project were not clearly identified at the beginning.
The author, however, was rooted in the philosophy of full citizen participation in community life and believed that this could be achieved through the rudder of neighborhood groups. The obscurity of the project lasted through the research phase, but the author remained convinced and persisted to find the gold mine underneath the rubble.
The said author was not only presumptuous in the assumption of this unexplored wealth, but was also unfamiliar and unexposed to neighborhood groups their intentions and activities. The study was therefore initiated with a questionnaire survey mailed out to the 53 groups for general informational purposes. This was followed by an interview survey of selected groups, the intention of which was to cover in depth their goals, self-perception and to obtain materials printed by them. Thereafter, interviews were held with neighborhood planners of the City to find out their views of the planner's role and to ask what they would do to improve neighborhood planning.
After the research phase, the goal and objective for the project began to take form and crystallized simultaneously with the analysis of
The analysis led to the conceptualization of the ideal neighborhood group, and from thereon evolved the recommendations for their development.
A diagrammatic presentation of the design approach and work detail is shown to illustrate the flow of ideas throughout the project. The different methodologies employed under the research phase will be briefly discussed and summarized to explain their purpose.
mailing of questionnaire
Interview with neighborhood groups and planners v
Defining Goals & Objectives
Consolidation of findings__________
Definition of ideal neighborhood group
A. Questionnaire survey all 53 groups registered with the
Denver Planning Office were included. To qualify as a neighborhood group they must satisfy the requirements set by Neighborhood Ordinance No. 174. A discussion of this ordinance follows in a later chapter.
A response of 64% or 34 out of 53 was obtained. Questions chosen for the survey were those that pertained to general information and which were thought to have a direct or indirect bearing on the development of the group's role. The chart that follows is a listing of the different subjects asked in the questionnaire. The second column shows the influence said subjects may
have on role playing.
1. Mechanics of the Group
Actualization of goals and objectives
- membership and labor resource
- frequency and regularity of working hours
- communication methods and type of information communicated
2. Goals and Activities Cultivation of Role
3. Planning experience with Responsibilities and expectations
Neighborhood Planners in neighborhood planning
B. Interview with neighborhood groups
The criteria for groups chosen for interviews were loca-
tion and age. Ten out of the 34 groups were picked
randomly for interviews . They are as follows:
Neighborhood Group Loca tion Age
1. Concerned Citizen Congress of North Denver NC 4 Years
2. Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corporation NW 1-1/2 Years
3. Elyria Community Improvement Association NC 3 Years
4. Greater Park Hill Community Incorpora ted NE Over 10 Years
5. Hampden Heights Civic As-socia tion SE Over 10 Years
6. LaAlma Lincoln Park Resident Community WC 2 Years
7. Northwest Neighbors NW 1-1/2 Years
8. South Jackson Street Neighborhood Association SC Over 10 Years
9. Pinehurst Estates Homeowners Association SW Over 10 Years
10. City Park Neighborhood As- NE 9 Years
STATISTICAL PLANNING COMMUNITIES CENSUS TRACTS
Questions chosen for the interview were a follow-up on those asked in the questionnaire, but with emphasis on goals and activities and their experience with neighborhood planners. A listing of the basic questions raised in the interview appears in Appendix M.
C. Interview With Neighborhood Planners
Interviews were held with 2 neighborhood planners of the Denver Planning Office to satisfy 4 basic inquiries on:
1. their feelings about the Neighborhood Planning Program
2. their role as planners
3. role of the planning team
4. proposal for improvements given resource in staff and funding
D. Literature Search
Literature search was minimal. Newsletters, fliers and other printed materials by the groups were accumulated for analysis and in order to check on the consistency of questionnaire and interview response. Books, news articles and special reports were used to
support ideas incorporated in the text of this report.
Several difficulties and limitations were encountered while pursuing this project. The foremost difficulty was the relative recentness of the neighborhood planning profession in Denver, and the scarcity of materials on the subject. Numerous references may be found under the heading of community organization or development, but none particularly addressing the role of Denver neighborhood groups as an agent in planning. This lack of material and reference posed a problem as it opened numerous avenues for the project. In this regard, the scope of the project is very limited.
The second limitation is the consideration of only 2 actors in the planning process the neighborhood planner and the neighborhood group. There are several public agencies and parties such as the Department of Public Works, the Zoning Administration, the Mayor and the City Council, who contribute to the process. This study focuses only on the role of the planner and neighborhood group.
The third limitation is the inclusion of only those groups that are
registered with the Denver Planning Office. There is a proliferation of
civic related organizations listed with the Denver Metropolitan Resource 2
Directory. These groups vary or may not qualify as a neighborhood 2
Mile High United Way, "1977-1978 Denver Metropolitan Resource Directory"
group as defined by Ordinance 174. They were excluded in order to ensure and to facilitate the survey of those that meet the criteria of the ordinance.
The fourth limitation is the inclusion of only those groups that have responded to the survey in the personal interview. The reason for which is to have some background information on the interviewee in order to verify the consistency of three data sources: the survey, interview and printed materials.
DEFINITION OF A NEIGHBORHOOD GROUP
DEFINITION OF A NEIGHBORHOOD ORGANIZATION
Neighborhood organizations are a group of residents in an area who are involved with projects and activities common to the interest of the neighborhood residents. They function as community organizers to pull neighborhood resources for a purpose that is beneficial to the area.
In the Denver planning process, a neighborhood group is defined by Authority Ordinance No. 174. This project will, accordingly, use the same definition and eligibility requirement for a neighborhood organization. The terms neighborhood organization and neighborhood groups shall be used interchangeably.
The Ordinance defines a neighborhood organization as a "voluntary, general purpose group of individual residents and owners of real property within a certain prescribed area of the city formed for the purpose of collectively addressing issues and interests common to and widely perceived through said area."
The eligibility requirements for registration as a neighborhood organization are:
1. They must be formed by residents and owners
of real property within the said prescribed area.
2. They shall hold meetings open to the entire membership and to the public at least once a year.
3. Their established boundaries may include one or more neighborhoods within the city provided that it shall not encompass the entire city.
4. They shall not be comprised of exclusive agencies or organizations that are solely concerned with special interests and limited views.
The Ordinance also spells out the duties of the Planning Office in connection with all registered neighborhood organizations. Their duties will be discussed in a later section under Denver neighborhood planning process. The copy of the Ordinance may also be referred to
in Appendix C.
The information describing the general profile of a neighborhood organization shall be according to subject as outlined in the questionnaire methodology. They are the mechanics of the organization, goals and activities. Planning experience with the Denver Planning Office shall be incorporated with findings on roles played by the groups.
The structure of neighborhood organizations is fairly simple and flexible. Basically there is always a core group that is supported by resident volunteers. The core group, or in some cases, a core person, may be part-time or full-time depending on the availability of funds.
NEIGHBORHOOD GROUP STRUCTURE
complex organizational structure
Larger groups normally have block representatives who aid the core group. As the name implies, these representatives are residents who voice out the concerns of his or her neighbors who reside in the block area that he or she covers.
The survey indicates a low percentage of paid part-time and full-time workers, and a high percentage without regular office hours.
The high percentage of volunteers reflect the low budget and limited time by which most neighborhood groups function. It also reflects the flexibility in their work force and in their management.
Among groups with full-time staff, one group attributed a large part of their success to the availability of people who devote full-time in the field doing door to door contact on a regular basis. Time and effort invested into the project and personal contact are key factors to the development and process of their neighborhood work.
Among groups with no regular staff, it was admitted that more staff and funds would facilitate their work, particularly in the early years of formation where door to door contact is desired. Definitely, much more can be accomplished with more staff. However, having a full-time staff is a luxury that not many organizations can afford, financially and timewise.
The attitude of the group leaders is that they will do with whatever limited time and resource available. Correspondingly, the large percent of part-time volunteers suggest that resident involvement is restricted to the remaining hours left from their regular jobs. The inquiry, therefore, in on the urgency of the issue and on the priority that residents give to their community. Is it important enough that they will work for the extra funds to hire people? Are they willing to put in more volunteer hours themselves for their community?
The required number of staff and working hours is largely dependent on the answer to this question. It can only be noted that the total number of staff and working hours is an indication of the extent of work that can be achieved. The organization must adjust accordingly in order to satisfy certain goals and objectives.
REGULAR STAFF MEETING
The funding source is predominantly through membership fees.
Secondary sources are donations and fund raising activities. The third
income source is obtained from local public institutions, and the State
and Federal government if the neighborhood organization is registered
and qualifies under the neighborhood planning priority guide.
The concern on how funds were available to an organization was practical. It was necessary to know how they supported themselves in order to achieve their objectives. The inquiry in this area led to the discovery that these organizations are creative and resourceful in finding money for their projects. A good example is their fund raising activity. Several organizations have raised money through projects like t-shirt sales, hot dog booths at the People's Fair, garage sales and dinner parties.
Neighborhood organizations are, therefore, not limited in their funding source specially if the city works with them on a neighborhood plan. Of more relevant concern would be how much and where the money will be spent. Again, the answer to this lies with the goals and priorities of the neighborhood organization as well as the objectives they wish to achieve.
See Appendix D.
The most common types of communication are: the regular neighborhood meetings, fliers, and newsletters.
Door to door contact though not the most frequent method, is considered the most effective. Personal contacts is particularly important to establish a foundation for further communication. After the initial connection, they are easily followed up by telephone calls. Normally, members in the core group are given a list of numbers to call, or the responsibility of calling rotates among the group.
Other methods ordinarily used are the local newspaper, church bulletins and radio. These are normally utilized to announce meetings and special events.
It is in the newsletters that the bulk of the information appears. Through this media, several communication levels become available: from resident to resident, the core group to residents, public agencies or institution to the neighborhood and special interest groups to the neighborhood.
The newsletter provides information on a wide variety of subjects and interests. A brief enumeration source of the article headings fol-
lows to illustrate the versatility of the newsletter.
On Neighborhood Issues "Neighborhood Plan Progresses" "Light Rail The Broadway Corridor May Spell Diaster For The Neighborhood" "Airport Plans Threaten Park Hill Noise Increase Litigation Recommended" "GPHC Sponsoring 23rd and Quebec Park Study"
On Social Events "A Trip Lincoln Park Senior Citizen Club" "Block Party In The Park" "Park Hill Toy Library Celebrates 1st Anniversary" "Meet Me At Phyllis'"
On Educational Interest "Hispanic Women's Conference" "Spring Classes: Hampden Heights Community School" "Human Relations Seminar"
On Cost/Energy Savings Tip "High Cost of Utilities What Can Be Done ? "There's Aid In Winterizing For Those Who Qualify"
On Family Needs and Concerns "Day Care Center Aid Parents Working" "How To Renovate Your Antiquated House and Stay Happily Married" "Course Offered By Community College of Denver"
On Neighborhood Improvement 'Watering Transplanted Trees" "Tree Trimming, Tree Trimming"
On Health "Senior Nutrition Program" "Nutrition Nibblets" "Health Fair 1980"
On Community Awareness and Participation "Girl Scouts, Be A Part" "Be A Part of the 1980 Census"
Special publications by outside organizations are also sometimes
used to communicate general information. Some examples of these are: Denver Civic Directory by the League of Women Voters of Denver, and "Problem Solvers" from the Denver Planning Office.
Denver neighborhood organizations have used the various techniques in communicating to suit their needs. They have shown maturity and competence in the dissemination of information and have harvested interest in the process.
COMMUNICATION METHODS IN COMMON
A search on how the age correlated to the degree of goal achievement and role fulfillment was initiated to confirm the hypothesis that the younger the organization, the less active and less achievements.
This assumption was proven negative in the encounter of two organizations recently established. Compared with older organizations, they had as much, if not more, vigor in pursuing their objectives.
A brief description of one of the organizations follows:
OMNI, for Organization for Midtown Neighborhood Improvement, was started in 1979. Their area is bounded by Broadway, Colfax, York and 23rd Avenue.
The group stresses resident participation and has involved minorities and senior residents, special interest groups, banks and business owners, hospital administrators and several city agencies in the preparation of its neighborhood plan. Their newsletter is mailed regularly to members every two to four weeks. Some of their most successful projects/activities include: the completion of the neighborhood plan, sponsorship of housing workshop and a tree planting
It is difficult to assess how long it takes before the organization established enough to produce a noticeable impact in the area. In the case of OMNI, their success is due to the sophistication and high level of organization and awareness of its group. These assets enabled them to achieve more than normally would be possible in the brief period of time.
All registered neighborhood organizations are required to establish their boundaries. These boundaries do not always conform to the statistical planning units set by the planning office. The size of these organizations also vary widely. One of the largest of the 53 groups was Capitol Hill United Neighborhood. It covered nine planning units. The smallest, South Jackson Street Neighborhood Association covers only four blocks of South Jackson Street.
Initially, the nonconformity of size and overlapping of boundaries appear to be a major difficulty for purposes of comparison. Census tract data would have to be manipulated before it can be applied. But this is a problem with the manipulation of numbers; a task that can be over-comed with modem computers.
The concern is not the size, but which boundaries to use for the neighborhood plan. One way is to conform to statistical units; a solution
that may leave out a section not covered by an organization, or involving two or more groups. At worst, it can partially include territories of several organizations, necessitating heavy coordination work.
Conforming to boundaries set by the organization seems to be more straightforward and eliminates the possibility of splitting somebody in half.
It must be noted, however, that planning approaches a problem as a whole. Size of the neighborhood organization is not the sole basis for the plan. The field of influence of the problem would be a better basis. This factor together with political boundaries, should help to arrive at the preferred size for neighborhood organizations.
The goals of neighborhood organizations can be generalized into four categories. These are: the improvement of the neighborhood image or the maintenance of a better quality of life; on the expansion of neighborhood voice representation; on the promotion of neighborhood intra-communication; and on education and the promotion of neighborhood
These four categories were arrived at by grouping together similar/
purposes of 19 neighborhood organizations listed in the first annual
neighborhood report of Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation.
The first goal, the improvement of the neighborhood, is always true with most organizations though stated or expressed differently. For example, about a third of the purposes enumerated by the 19 groups were towards this goal. A brief enumeration of their purposes, very obviously carry the same intent, and they are as follows:
- To maintain the integrity of the neighborhood
- To promote a positive image of the neighborhood
- To provide residents with a safe, clean and healthy neighborhood
- To maintain the quality of living in the neighborhood
- To further neighborhood improvement
Another common goal is to expand on neighborhood voice and representation. Again, from the listed purposes of the 19 organizations, about a third were directed toward this effort. A rundown of some of the stated purposes are:
- Provide a powerful, unified voice for neighborhood residents.
- Facilitate cooperation with city agencies.
- Represent the interest of residents
- To promote a sense of community and to address problems impinging in neighborhoods.
- To provide a forum for the neighborhood.
In ter-Neighborhood Cooperation, "Celebrate First Annual Neighborhood Report" (Colorado: University of Colorado)
In line with the previous goal is the promotion of communication within the neighborhood. This, however, is not as common as the first two. Roughly it would represent a sixth of the listed purposes. Again, to illustrate the similarity of goals of the different groups, a list of stated purposes from the 19 groups follows:
- To promote a sense of neighbomess to encourage representation and cooperation among diverse groups in the neighborhood.
- To facilitate intra-neighborhood communication.
- To help people to understand each other so that they can live together.
The last goal is towards education and the promotion of neighborhood awareness. This category roughly represents a sixth of the listed purposes. Some of the stated goals expressed in the list are:
- To inform, educate and advocate on behalf of residents.
- To inform residents on how they can bring about neighborhood improvement through zoning and citizen input processes.
- To provide the neighborhood with a forum where people can express different points of views and common problems.
The four goals indicate a healthy distribution of concerns and priorities. The first category covers civic and environmental concerns, the second and third, on social aspects of the neighborhood and the
last on the cultivation of general awareness and the preparation of its residents for leadership.
The last item indicates foresight and is a long-term investment. It is an area that deserves more emphasis. It reflects the attitude of planning for the future, rather than reacting to the situation.
Activities of neighborhood organizations focus on civic interest issues such as: housing, rezoning, crime prevention, public transportation, noise pollution, street and traffic maintenance, and in the preparation of a neighborhood plan.
The second group of interest is the social concern such as: the development of programs to aid the elderly and mentally ill in the neighborhood, opening new day care centers for working parents, developing activities for youths, sponsorship of pot-luck social dinner, summer picnics and Christmas parties.
The third category is directed at educational and recreational opportunities. Some examples are: working to develop and improve local neighborhood parks, to obtain new facilities for the neighborhood center, sponsorship of talks on solar heating for homes, sponsorship of housing workshops for residents and the general public, and efforts to educate residents regarding city departments and their function.
It appears that the three focus on neighborhood activities and reflect a sincere community interest on both immediate and long-term concerns. The emphasis on civic interest related issues are immediate and short term projects that reflect the conditions of the situation. Social, recreational and educational programs are also numerous, but do not have the urgency and priority given to pressing issues such as noise pollution or substandard housing.
Another bearing on the focus of activities of a neighborhood organization is its geographical location. In Denver, there is basically a radial pattern of density from intense at the core to lighter density at the periphery. It was found that neighborhood organizations located at the outer fringe of the city dealt mostly with issues on: the preservation of the residential environment, educational and recreation opportunities, improvement of neighborhood amenities such as street lights, parks and street furniture. The neighborhood organizations located near the Central Business Districts were faced with the issues such as: urban renewal, the need of upgrading housing stock, crime prevention and the encouragement of business and commercial activity into the area.
The neighborhood activities are a reflection of the physical condition of the area. Vice versa, the location of the group is an indication of the kind of issues they face. For example, if the neighborhood
is in the transition zone or outer fringe of the Central Business District, urban renewal programs are likely and the local neighborhood organizations activities would probably include: raising funds and applying for grants for housing, negotiating with lending institutions to buy abandoned houses for rehabilitation.
Clearly there is a correlation between goals and objectives and the physical environment at the particular geographic locations. Neighborhood organizations react to the problems in their environment. It may be deduced that the concerns of an organization is a gauge of the conditions of services of the area, while the intensity of resident involvement in the activity is a measure of their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with their living environment.
EXISTING AND POTENTIAL ROLE OF NEIGHBORHOOD GROUPS
Neighborhood organizations are composed of people who have their communities interest in mind. Their range of activities reveal creativity and ingenuity. Neighborhood organizations are comparable to an untrapped energy source. Like oil shale, the resource is there, though difficult to obtain. The neighborhood organizations in Denver have displayed a wealth of human talent and potential in servicing the community. Each group interviewed, has played different roles in varying degrees of community service. Most share the basic function of being a safeguard of resident interests. Among the obvious, as well as the unique, roles found in the nine groups iiiterviewed are:
1. Organizer of neighborhood residents thus forming constructive teams capable of coordinating and actualizing ideas.
2. An information pool that diseminates general information and educates residents on laws and regulations that affect their properties and rights.
3. A stimulating agent that gradually raises the civic consciousness of the residents.
4. A neighborhood stabilizer that enhances the physical
image and property values through improvements in
neighborhood infrastructure and the promotion of a sense of community.
5. A representative voice of the residents that range in degree of a liaison person to an advocate.
6. A mediator that acts as a middle person between conflicting neighborhoods and among residents in the area.
7. A facilitator in the neighborhood planning process by being the extended arm of the planning office.
The most basic role of the neighborhood organization is as a community organizer. The ability to encourage residents to work together has resulted in many possibilities and activities for each group. A good measure of the effectiveness of this role is to look at the organizers activities and accomplishments.
Greater Park Hill Community, Inc. is an established group founded in 1960. Their key objective is to help keep Park Hill a viable integrated neighborhood wherein people of all ethnic backgrounds can live as a community. An overview of their 1980 accomplishments was listed in the first annual neighborhood report of I.N.C. These are:
1. The acquiring of a Community Block Grant enabling the city to purchase and refurbish GPHC's office building and to leave it to the organization for $1.00/ year.
2. The completion of the litigation filing.
3. The sponsorship of successful fund raising project to cover the costs of lawyers hired for the litigation fil ing.
4. Implemented efforts directed towards an economic development revitalization project.
5. Received a grant from the Department of Energy for the instalation of a solar hot water heater and greenhouse and for conducting neighborhood energy workshops .
6. The completion of the third round of small neighborhood projects in which trees were planted, alleys were repaired and parks were developed.
On annual and continuing projects, they have additional services that include:
- The emergency food shelf- a project that serves 1400 persons annually.
- The GPHC Thrift Shop a non-profit project that receives donations of clothing and small household items. These items are sold at low cost to the community and may be provided free for emergencies.
- Christmas baskets a project that is coordinated with sponsoring churches to deliver food to 2 00 needy families.
- A referral and assistance center for neighborhood
On the social side, the organization holds regularly wine tasting and punch parties, and organizes block clubs in order to acquaint residents and encourage their involvement in the community.
The Organization for Mid-Town Neighborhood Improvement is a group established recently in 1979 The group is young, but vigorous. Their goals are to see the implementation of their neighborhood plan and to educate residents on how they can bring about neighborhood improvement through zoning and citizen input processes. A look at its activities show that the organization has worked with various members in the neighborhood area thus revealing a high level of organization within the group.
- Encouraging the involvement of minority and senior residents.
- Assisting the Music Association of Swallow Hill (MASH) with relocating in the neighborhood.
- Preparation and sponsoring of the Neighborhood Capitol Hill Housing Workshop.
- Working with St. Joseph's Hospital on a tree planting project.
- Persuading the Denver Housing Authority to develop more housing in the neighborhood.
- Lobbying for city approval of neighborhood plan.
- Negotiating with a bank concerning their proposed tower building.
A third example is the Elyria Community Improvement Association. This group is located in North Denver and was established in 1977. This group is unique because of its emphasis on family oriented concerns and activities. Their 1980 activities include:
- Working to obtain new tennis court for the neighborhood recreation center.
- Convincing officials to open the new day care center prior to a certain date.
- Developing statistics to bring a supermarket, laundromat and branch library into the neighborhood.
- Assisting elderly residents who have had their lights and gas disconnected by Public Service.
- Submitted papers for incorporation.
- Placement of a VISTA volunteer to work with the neighborhood.
- Sponsorship of several educational and recreational activities for the youth such as the ski trip for ages 10 and up, soccer for boys and girls, and youth forum
on community projects.
INFORMATION SOURCE AND STIMULATOR
Another basic role that neighborhood organizations play is as information source and stimulator. All groups interviewed gather material about their own residents through surveys and through the process of doing activities together. Although not all groups have documented data, they nevertheless have a good working knowledge of resident composition their age, sex, income distribution, family size and racial mix.
Information that is commonly accumulated and distributed are: directory list of neighborhood trouble shooters, calendar of events, and reports of current issues. Through newsletters and fliers, this information is very effectively relayed to individual residents.
The following are examples of three neighborhood organizations acting the role of information source and educator:
1. Neighborhood A is a homeowner's association located in Southwest Denver. The neighborhood is characterized by established familes in the later stage of family rearing. The organization publishes a very impressive resident directory. For general information, the directory includes a listing of directors of
the different estates, emergency numbers, and a
"problem solver" directory. For residents, it includes a breakdown of the total number of lots and homes in the different parcels within the estates, maps showing said parcels, list of owners of the different lots and the declaration of protective covenants applicable to the neighborhood block and resident directory. This Association also utilizes informational pamphlets and brochures published by other groups. An example is the Denver Civic Directory by the League of Women Voters.
2. Neighborhood Group B is a very cohesive group with predominantly Chicano residents. The organization was established in 1978. This group has substantial information on this neighborhood as they have worked closely in the preparation of a neighborhood plan with the city neighborhood planners. Other informational services that the group utilizes are the 20 social agencies that service the neighborhood. Over the short period of its existence the group has accumulated much information. The exposure to different informa-
tion has resulted in the recognition of the needs to
actively inform and educate residents of their rights. Their suggestions were to invite speakers, sponsor workshops on different planning topics and to use nearby government buildings as distribution centers for pamphlets, fliers and brochures.
3. Neighborhood C is a group that believes that its function goes beyond that of informing residents of current issues. Their role is to stimulate residents through more information and more activities. The newsletter they circulate is a reflection of this goal. News articles cover a range of interest that include environmental concern, educational opportunities for adults and children, social and recreational activities, notices, and a survey on schoolage population. This newsletter is interesting and serves a dual objective.
It offers information and stimulates resident's interest
so that they may eventually become involved.
A neighborhood organization can bring stability to the area by acting on three areas of concern. These areas are physical improvements, crime and safety and community identity.
Physical improvements have been achieved by projects such as sidewalk tree planting, alley clean up, replacing old light poles, acquiring new facilities for neighborhood parks and recreation centers.
All of these are visible effects that enhance the physical image of the neighborhood. As a neighborhood leader commented, these projects are a form of financial investment that maintains and increases the value of properties. ^
Crime and Safety
The safety and security of a neighborhood has always been of primary concern to residents. Neighborhood organizations have responded to it by participating in several crime deterring activities. A few examples are: participation in the whistle-stop program, cooperating with police to discourage crime and security exhibits. Another effort to
^Interview with Ed Heidbredder, Pinehurst Homestate Ownership, Denver, Co., 29 March 1980.
promote security is the formation of block parties. The block parties were principally organized to allow for more representation from individual residents and to distribute responsibility. Consequently, the residents in the block can enforce various crime deterring programs such as the above mentioned. Residents become the "eyes" of the block area. They can watch fellow neighbor's properties and discourage petty crime. This ability to assure the safety conditions of the area, coupled with the physical improvements create a very positive image for the neighborhood.
The goal of achieving community identity has been alluded to by several neighborhood organizations. It has been the belief that it brings interest and life to the area. This hypothesis was positively endorsed by two groups in Denver.
Neighborhood Group D is located in North Central Denver. This group is considered as one of the most successful ones in terms of membership and resident response. Its coordinator attributes the success to the participation of different age groups in family oriented activities, and in the involvement of elderly citizens who offer guidance. A visit to their recreation center strongly illustrates this family-like neighborhood
The recreation center houses two wings. Recreational facilities are on one wing, offices and multi-purpose rooms on the other. In the multi-purpose rooms, the family-like atmosphere is very strongly suggested by the presence of three generations: grandmothers and housewives sit, chat and crochet while watching TV; and nursery age children sleep or play in the same room. The presence of cabinets and kitchen counters suggest cooking activities that are routine or class-scheduled.
The other wing houses a basketball court. Tennis courts are currently planned as additions. These facilities are shared by all.
The neighborhood recreation center provides a place for family members to play and do things together. The center provides the opportunity for families to become closer and for neighbors to get to know each other. The coordinator stressed that stability in the neighborhood is gradually achieved because its basic unit, the family, is united.
Neighborhood E is a young but active group located in Southeast Denver. The residents are predominantly single home families. This organization has experienced good community response. Their news letter is a strong indication of developed community identity. Its news items are very local in nature. In one issue, it included a resident's cooking recipe, classified ads for used couches and TV's for sale, and
membership dues for the neighborhood's swimming-tennis association.
The coverage of the newsletter also includes numerous announcements on social, vocational and recreational interest. The belief of the group is that community feeling developed through the frequent occurrence of activities that brought people together.
Their goal is to stimulate residents into involvement and its numerous social activities are constructive toward this end.
Planners who have worked with neighborhood organizations on neighborhood plans have found the cooperation of these groups very constructive. A strong neighborhood organization facilitates the process in many ways. In the initial planning stage, the neighborhood organization can arrange a time and meeting place to initiate the communication process between the planner and residents. During the first few meetings, the planner is able to feel out the people and decide whether there is enough support to proceed with the project. With a positive response the planner solicits volunteers from the residents to form the planning team. In Denver, this planning team has been, to date, the neighborhood organization.
In the research phase, the neighborhood organization helps the planner in conducting surveys. The familiarity of the residents to the area gives the planner added insight. This enables the team to produce a plan that truly identifies the issues that concern the neighborhood.
In the analysis phase the planning team formulates policies that will be later adopted as the neighborhood plan after mayoral and council approval. The interaction and exchange of ideas between the planner and neighborhood organization results in a plan that reflects the desires and
needs of the residents.
Downplaying this role is the tendency of neighborhood groups to view the city neighborhood planner as an opposition. A cooperative relationship between groups and planners is not always the case. In the survey, almost half of the organizations have had little or no contact with their city neighborhood planner. Interestingly, the same groups have either expressed a negative working experience or offered no comments. Of groups interviewed, one group was vaguely aware of the existence of their area's assigned planner or couldn't care less. The rest were either very positive or cordial about it.
One reason for the lack of communication and rapport may be in the requirement set by the Planning Office in doing a neighborhood plan. If the area does not warrant the preparation of a plan, no initiative to establish contact and communication is taken by either side. It would seem that both the neighborhood planner and groups react only when there is a pressing problem.
Neither party has really thought ahead to avoid or prepare for a future problem. Planning then becomes an afterthought rather than what it should be a projection into the future.
GROUPS W/ REGULAR CONTACT W/NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNER
GROUPS THAT HAVE WORKED W/THE D.P.O. NEIGHBOR HOOD PLANNER
REPRESENTATIVE VOICE FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD
It has been argued that neighborhood groups involve a percentage of the residents and may not be truly representative of resident interest. This is a concern that neighborhood organizations themselves have expressed. Despite efforts to encourage resident involvement, the organizations have not and many never obtain a 100% resident participation.
The problem is not that these organizations haven't tried, but that there are people who are indifferent. The interest of an individual in his/her community can not be expected unless he or she realizes the need for it. Individuals who do participate and they are the same people who join neighborhood organizations.
Neighborhood organizations are composed of people who are concerned for their neighborhood. They are the more active members and the leaders of their community.
A second assurance of the qualifications of neighborhood organizations as representatives is provided in the definition of neighborhood organizations by Ordinance 174. The ordinance requires a membership of residents and real property owners who collectively address issues and interests common to and widely perceived throughout the neighborhood area. The ordinance explicitly disconsiders exclusive and special interest groups as neighborhood organizations. The ordinance ensures
that the organization is a representative voice of residents within the neighborhood and that it is not individual or exclusive.
A second arguement is that neighborhood groups with their good intentions may not know the means of obtaining resident views. This may be so when the group is newly formed. A lack of organization and resident participation is normally the case with newly found groups.
But the group learns over time. With some assistance from the planner, the group can learn organizational and planning techniques which should enable them to effectively involve more residents. Eventually, the group matures and can claim that they are a representative voice of the
MEDIATOR BETWEEN NEIGHBORS AND NEIGHBORHOOD GROUPS
The role of mediator between neighbors and neighborhoods is not usual and was observed only in two cases.
Neighborhood F is located in North Central Denver. It is a successful organization that involves membership of all age groups. Adjacent neighborhoods have expressed respect and admiration for their sense of community. On one occasion the group was approached to help solve conflicting interest between the two adjacent neighborhood organizations. The group accepted and acted as a mediator.
In the second case, the neighborhood group played a mediator role on a different level. The conflict was between two neighbors and the subject matter was personal. The organization was called upon and the matter was settled eventually.
The purpose of citing the two cases is to suggest the delegation of certain authorities to neighborhood groups that they may legally mediate between two parties. Particularly in the second case, the organization given certain administrative powers and responsibilities can settle trivial conflicts at an early date and prevent these from developing into a case in court.
THE DENVER NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING
DENVER NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING
Since 1969, the Denver Planning Office has had a small staff of neighborhood planners assigned to work with Denver neighborhoods. These planners work under the small area planning division in the planning organization. The division has two areas, Neighborhood Planning and Central Business District. The Central Business District is not a neighborhood and is treated separately.
PLANNING OFFICE TABLE OF ORGANIZATION
Roles and Responsibilities
The Denver Planning Office plays an independent role in the neighborhood planning process. They do not take the advocate's role. This is particularly true when there is no community interest and commitment, or in situations where opposition, resistance and ill sentiments exist. But with cooperation and singleness of interest from the neighborhoods, the Planning Office assigns a neighborhood planner to work closely with residents on a planning team. The planning team has to date been the neighborhood group.
The Planning Office identifies the planning team as a group of 10 to 20 volunteer residents that is representative of all geographic, organizational, and special interest in the neighborhood. The team must not exceed a size that will hamper communication and coordination.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING TEAM ACTS AS A LIAISON PERSON BETWEEN RESIDENTS AND THE PLANNER.
The role of the planning team is to assist the neighborhood planner in the preparation of the neighborhood plan. This involves the responsibility of keeping residents informed and consulting them on issues and bringing back their opinion. The team is in effect a liaison person between the residents and the neighborhood planner.
Ordinance No. 174 provides that the neighborhood planner has the responsibility of presenting data, maps, graphics and background material on specific conditions, issues or questions like housing, zoning, developmental potential, funding or other resources. The "Planning Guide" published by the Planning Office discusses other responsibilities. They are summarized as follows:
1. To bring to the city administration the concerns and perspectives of the neighborhoods.
2. To inform residents about public actions under consideration in their neighborhoods and how and where residents can react to those decisions.
3. To offer technical assistance to the neighborhoods.
4. To help coordinate activities of various public and private agencies within the neighborhood.
5. To bring citywide and regional concerns to neighbor-
hood on a continuous basis.
6. To work with neighborhood residents, organizations and business people in the preparation of neighborhood plans for selected neighborhoods.
The last is a major area of responsibility of neighborhood planners. The selection of the area deserving the attention of a neighborhood plan is determined by two criteria. These are the neighborhood planning priority guide and willingness and commitment of the neighborhood residents to work on the plan with the planner. Without the latter, the planning office does not proceed with the planning process. The insistence to do so would only encounter difficult opposition and create undersirable impressions and relationships. With the consent and support of the residents, the planning process carries on.
The Planning Process
There are two planning approaches adopted by the Denver Planning Office. The first approach is initiated by the planning staff. The second is by the neighborhood organization. The two approaches follow basically the same procedure. They differ greatly however, in the degree of citizen involvement. In the second approach, there tend to be more interest and commitment on the part of the residents to work with the planner in the preparation of the plan. They are self-motivated, willing to learn and are facilitators in the planning process.
The first approach has basically nine steps in the process. They are: selection of the neighborhood, initial research and analysis by the neighborhood planner, presentation of the problem to the planning board and residents, decision to proceed with project upon the expressed interest and commitment of the neighborhood, formation of the planning team, plan preparation, plan review, and plan implementation.
The process begins by making a careful selection of a neighborhood where a plan will be prepared for. The priority guide initially determines this choice. Once selection is made, the neighborhood planner will independently do a preliminary investigation and collect data on the neighborhood. The data will include population, industry, employment, land use, zoning and transportation and traffic volumes, community facilities, environmental factors, crime, welfare and housing. An analysis will be completed based on these data. This analysis is then presented first to the planning board for informational purposes and next to the residents. Should the presentation result in a positive resident response, the scheduling of the first public meeting is arranged.
At the meeting, the purpose of the project and analysis completed by the neighborhood planner are presented. If residents show interest, the planner solicits volunteer residents and property owners to form the neighborhood planning team.
The team meets regularly to assist the planner in the preparation of the plan. Together with the planner, they review the initial data and analysis and utilize it to assess the neighborhood key needs, issues and problems. Additional research is undertaken should further analysis reveal a need for more data. Plan goals, objectives and recommendations are discussed to address these needs and problems. The conclusion of the research and discussions are then written by the team or the planner. This written report is the first draft of the neighborhood plan. It is also called the resident draft as it reflects the wishes and views of the planning team.
The resident draft undergoes review by 3 groups of people. The first review is by the Planning Office and concerned public agencies.
The second review occurs at the second public hearing where the draft is presented to the residents in the neighborhood. Following this meeting, the draft is reworked by the Planning Office based on the combined comments and suggestions received from the two reviews. The planning team will continue to meet for discussion purposes and with city agencies that have differences of opinion on the recommendations. The revisions will be incorporated into the draft which then becomes the final or the city's draft for the neighborhood.
The final draft is presented to the planning board at a public meeting in the neighborhood. Members of the planning team and interested
residents are encouraged to attend to express their concurrence or disagreement with the plan while changes may still be accommodated by the planning board. With a majority approval vote of the board, the plan is forwarded to the Mayor and City Council for review and adoption.
With their approval, the plan is adopted by ordinance and becomes an official ammendment to the Denver Comprehensive Plan.
Over time, the proposed plan may become outdated and amendments to it necessary. Amendments are done by two methods. One is for the Planning Office to conduct a thorough review to justify the need for revision. The second is for the neighborhood organization to submit a proposed amendment to the planning board with data and sufficient rational supporting the amendment.
Upon the approval for amendment, the general planning process is repeated, but in a shortened form. The Planning Office, neighborhood planning team and other city agencies will reconvene to review and comment upon the proposed amendment at scheduled public meetings. Its adoption would follow upon these hearings, reviews and acceptance by the planning board, the Mayor and the City Council.
The responsibility of the implementation of the adopted plan is distributed to various city agencies. The planning team has no admin-
istrative responsibility, but is responsible to see to its implementation.
They must be activists, advocates and watchdogs. They must continue to work and cooperate with their neighborhood planner, the residents, property owners, and council persons, while the neighborhood planner is obligated to remain in contact with them to maintain the flow of information .
The second planning approach is initiated by the neighborhood organization. When this occurs, and prior to starting the preparation of the neighborhood plan, the sponsoring group will be requested to consult with the Planning Office. In this manner, the planning staff can provide the needed maps and data. This procedure will insure that the group is representative of the neighborhood, and enable the neighborhood planner to serve as resource person and observer during the course of the plan preparation.
The organization's proposal or resident draft is submitted for review by the Planning Office and concerned public agencies and by residents at a public meeting. As in the first approach, the final draft will be prepared by the planning staff based on all previous reviews and comments. Its adoption procedure will likewise require the review and approval of the planning board, Mayor and City Council.
NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING PROCESS
The Denver neighborhood planning program has received much attention and recognition in the field of its profession. Denver is one of the few cities in the nation with a neighborhood planning program. The overall comment on the program has been very positive. It is innovative and responsive to community needs.
The program is very commendable for its efforts to involve residents in the planning process. The program has realized a number of benefits and impact. These benefits are adequately summarized in "A Guide To Neighborhood Planning" by the American Planning Association. These are:
1. Neighborhood planning can act as a catalyst to organize the neighborhood, foster the evolution of new political leaders, and bring about a functioning neighborhood coalition of formerly disparate groups and interest.
2. Through a neighborhood planning program citizens can increase their technical skills and also increase their capacity to develop their own plans and pro-
jects on an ongoing basis.
3. Citizens can gain knowledge and experience about how their local government operates and where and how to get results from government agencies.
4. Information assembled for the purpose of neighborhood planning can be used to influence development plans of both the private and public sectors in the neighborhood.
5. Even if no plan is developed, the planning process can get specific programs and projects underway that would otherwise not have been given neighborhood or city support.
The Denver Neighborhood Planning Program has realized all these benefits in the many plans it has prepared for the different neighborhoods. Among them, the North Capitol Hill Neighborhood Plan stands out as an exceptional example. This plan was jointly prepared by the Planning Office and a planning team that was composed of residents, business persons and hospital administrators who united to express their concern for their neighborhood. The plan is a major accomplishment for the group and a pride of the planning program.
Though the program has reached a milestone in the profession, there remains several avenues of improvement that can be sought.
The role of the neighborhood planner is evidently as resource person and catalyst for community organization. The Planning Office plays this role in every capacity it can when doing a neighborhood plan in a selected area. The remaining neighborhoods are not quite as fortunate to experience the benefits of the neighborhood plan preparation. Many neighborhoods remain loosely organized and indifferent. They are ignorant and unaware of the program. Most groups are vaguely aware of the assignation of a planner to their area, and has not learned how to utilize his resource. The ignorance and indifference of these groups can be helped if more communication were established between the Planning Office and the groups. The Planning Office should plan for an educational program where residents may learn about local government, purpose of planning, and techniques in community organization. In this manner, neighborhood groups and planners will be preparing for the future rather than waiting to react to a crisis.
Secondly, the implementation process calls for a major responsibility on the group's part to see to the plan's implementation. It is ironic that they should be held responsible yet not be given any legal authority to administer it. Without the proper authority, concerned citizens who lobby for their cause are casted as activist and trouble makers. An open forum needs to be created where residents can voice
out their concern without fear of being condemned, criticized and harassed. Criticism that is not constructive intimidates people from speaking up. Public discrimination represses fresh ideas into reticence.
IDEAL NEIGHBORHOOD GROUPS
There are two premises that need to be addressed before the definition of the ideal neighborhood group can be suggested. The first is that neighborhood organizations are a group of intelligent and conscientious people capable of planning their community independently. The second premise is that neighborhood groups are a dedicated group of citizens who need to work with planners, community organizers, professionals and politicians. Their views and resources must be complemented by outside assistance so an overall picture of the problem may be better perceived. It has been a concern that neighborhood groups can be radical and extremely political. They may see only their own needs and overlook the big picture. The collaboration with outside consultants will bring a balance of different perspectives and ideas.
Unquestionably there are groups of all kinds. The indifferent ones, the radical left group, and the in-between. Similarly, there are Denver neighborhood groups that are inactive. Their lack of activities and of visible improvements suggest little citizen input. On the other side of the scale are the highly active and politically radical groups. They are the groups who have acquired popular local support. Their activities confront pressing issues. Their views may be strongly opposed to that of the planning staff, and council members, but they will
stand by it and lobby for their cause.
By the first premise, the ideal neighborhood group is represented
in Amstein's 8th level of citizen participation. This level envisions citizen control where citizens obtain the majority of decision making seats with full managerial powers.
8 Citizen Control 1 DEGREES OF CITIZEN POWER
7 Delegated Power
6 Partnership J
5 Placation 1
4 Consultation h DEGREES OF TOKENISM
3 Informing J
2 Therapy J NONPARTICIPATION
ARNSTEIN'S EIGHT RUNGS ON A LADDER OF CITIZEN PARTICIPATION
S. R. Amstein, "A Ladder of Citizen Participation", JAIP, Vol. 35 (July, 1969) 217
The second premise is the more practical and realistic view. Neighborhood organizations have no authority delegated to them. They may participate and draft policies and plans for the neighborhood plan.
They may actively lobby to speed up the plan implementation. However, this is the extent of their influence, and the absence of results and gratification can be very frustrating.
A second limitation is that the function of neighborhood groups is to address local issues and concerns. The problems they encounter are immediate and particular to their area (i.e. rezoning applications, blocking the application of liquor licenses). The people involved are local residents and real property owners whose concerns are limited to what they know and their time volunteered. Because of the nature of the problem and the limitation of resources in resolving their problems, it can not be expected of neighborhood groups to have full awareness and consciousness of the overall picture.
However, the limitations must not be used to imply that neighborhood groups can not obtain a high level of civic consciousness. Community consciousness can be gradually cultivated through activities and programs designed to promote this end. Coupled with this effort, neighborhood groups can be given external assistance to supplement local help.
The delegation of some authority would be an incentive to neighborhood groups as this implies, prestige and more influence.
The ideal neighborhood group, therefore, is one that strives to be well informed. Its end, is activating the high level of civic consciousness that propels people into action. To realize its ends it must have a degree of community organization where ideas and action can be coordinated and actualized. They must design programs and activities which will encourage citizen participation. They should seek self-sufficiency and be held accountable for their actions. Financially, they must be able to reward its leaders.for their time consuming efforts. In manpower they should form a pool of human talents and skills to help implement their cause.
At the same time, the neighborhood group must have an open policy for external comments and opinions. It must be self-sufficient yet realize the value of outside knowledge and input. It must be willing to receive help to supplement what they do not have or can not do.
In the planning process, the ideal neighborhood group would have a bargaining power with the Planning Office, with the City Council or whatever adversary. In Amstein's ladder, the ideal relationship is represented in the partnership level where certain powers are delegated to citizens. Full citizen control is not ideal because there are limitations that neighborhood groups on their own can not overcome. Realistically,
full control is unattainable because no modem city can meet the criteria
of citizen control when final approval, power and accountability rest with the City Council.
Both neighborhood groups and City Council work for the interest of the people. The two levels of work is comparable to that of the local government and the regional council for a metropolitan area. The latter suggest metropolitanization and a collective point-of-view. The first suggest segmentation and a democratic way of life. The controversy over the two trend is an unresolved issue. However, communication and compromise is in order. The ideal neighborhood group has a responsibility toward its residents. At the same time, it must learn to look at the general interest of all. It must leam to communicate and work together with the local government agencies such as the Planning Office, the Department of Traffic and Engineering, Public Works, etc.
The combination of the group's internal efforts and external assistance from the public will diminish the group's limitations. The collaboration of residents and public officials will result in a better understanding of desires and needs of the people; in a better planning solution to future growth.
At this point, it is helpful to illustrate the characteristics of the ideal neighborhood. Referring back to the potential roles of a neighborhood group, the ideal neighborhood group must be able to assume all the
functions discussed, with emphasis on a few.
More emphasis should be placed on the role of information source and stimulator. This role will call for more activities ranging from social, recreational to educational. It will suggest more educational programs and activities such as housing workshops, solar heat-ting techniques for homes, and exhibits that will inform and interest residents.
The role of community organizer and as representative voice could be less emphasized. Representing residents is the main purpose of its existence. Neighborhood groups must round up all ideas and utilize the best in their policies and plans. The more ideas, the richer the results. To achieve this, a certain level of organization must be present. The group must be able to assess its own resources, organize its staff, its time and funds to be able to forward its goals and implement activities. Without a system or organized pattern for implementation, a neighborhood group would not be able to actualize anything.
The role of neighborhood organizations as facilitators in the planning process must be played with the objective of arriving at the interest of the majority of both parties concerned, (the residents and the planning parties). To achieve this role, residents must first understand the purpose of planning. Most of all, they must realize the value of their input to the development of their neighborhood plan and that of the city.
The role of a mediator is not one of necessity but is desired. Their function would be to work with various city agencies and officers, such as the police, the zoning enforcement officer, and parks and recreation department. Neighborhood groups can cooperate with them in the effort to maintain peace and order, enhance the neighborhood image and overall quality of life.
The energy and potentials of neighborhood organizations have been revealed through the different roles assumed by each. Some neighborhood groups have reached a sophistication and maturity that enable them to prepare a neighborhood plan on their own motivation. Other groups remain loosely organized and ignorant of the neighborhood planning program and the benefits associated with it. In recognizing the various level of capacity and involvement among the neighborhood groups in Denver, the following considerations are being proposed such that these groups may be steered toward the ideal concept. These recommendations are based on the findings from the survey and interview. They are:
A. Develop leadership potentials of residents through educational opportunities at the various levels of:
1. Schooling age
2. Adults or the general public
3. In ter- n e ig hborhoo d s
B. Utilize resident interest to generate activities that will promote a sense of community.
C. Encourage diversity in membership and enforce a stricter criteria in the formation of the core group.
D. Plan for a neighborhood forum or center that will provide a
setting for neighborhood activities.
E. Delegate administrative authority to registered neighborhood groups and the power to veto proposed neighborhood plans.
F. Modify the neighborhood ordinance to provide that registered neighborhood groups be non-profit organizations.
G. Make further studies to determine the maximum size allowable for neighborhood groups.
H. Create an information pool on neighborhoods, neighborhood groups and on various neighborhood planning process for
DEVELOPING LEADERSHIP AT THE SCHOOLING AGE LEVEL
Involvement in the planning process is an interest that needs cultivation. Resident interest needs to be developed first before they can be motivated to act. A gradual development of interest can be planned for by exposing citizens at the different stages of growth.
During the schooling period, children at the elementary level can become involved with their neighborhood through projects like cleaning up vacant lots, parks, sidewalks, shoveling snow off sidewalks during the winter season or helping senior citizens with grass cutting, shoveling, etc. Projects of this nature could be incorporated in their school activities where they can earn credit and recognition. Incentives such as cleanliness competition in coordination by the school with neighborhood groups, as well as prizes and awards for youths who participate in social-public service are some ideas that can be applied to promote youth participation.
At the secondary level and collegiate level, courses in social and political thought, government and public administration can be made mandatory in the curriculum disregarding student interest and major. College students in planning-related programs can be required internships that will expose them to planning realities. Programs such as VISTA and INC offer opportunities where students can become involved with various
public institutions and social service agencies. This experience will expose them to the realities of their profession and prepare them for the real world.
It is necessary and desirable to impress upon students the importance of citizen participation that they may be better equipped to assume future responsibilities. The need to shape them into leaders is the purpose and challenge of the educational system. Classroom lectures must be complimented with field experience to ripen their understanding of government, of their community and last but not least, their responsibilities to it.
Adults or those who have been out of the academic institution need to continue acquiring skills for leadership. Similar to a growing child, they leam through lectures and activities. These lectures and activities however, must be focused and must address their needs more specifically.
With residents and neighborhood groups, the development of leadership skills can be acquired through printed information and through practical training in seminars, workshops or in the preparation of the neighborhood plan.
Educational information can be widely diseminated by neighborhood groups through fliers, newsletters and pamphlets. These mediums have to date been utilized to communicate general information. Reports specifically designed to educate have been few. An example is the "Zoning Guideline", a report published by the Inter-neighborhood Corporation. The report provides information to acquaint residents to zoning and gives guidelines on the procedures involved. It is one of the few reports that is specifically designed for residents and neighborhood groups. An outline of its contents follows:
1. Introduction to zoning
2. Neighborhood plans
3. Re zoning
5. Down zoning
6. Committee structure
7. Protocol for City Council
8. Liquor and cabaret licenses
9. Landmark commission
10. Planned unit development
11. Sample notices
12. Directory of City Officials
A similar approach to different subjects in planning may be applied. Community involvement in transportation planning, in parks and recreation planning are examples of other topics that may be considered. Reports of this nature acquaint residents to the elements in planning. It is a way for community organizers, planners and public officials to communicate and to convey information to neighborhood groups and residents.
Practical training through seminars and workshops have also been few. Most training has been acquired by neighborhood groups and residents during the preparation of the neighborhood plans. The experience of "doing and putting things together" with the neighborhood planner has made them realize the value and importance of citizen input in the plan.
Seminars and workshops can provide the same information acquired through the direct involvement of neighborhood plan preparation but in a shorter period of time. The learning experience with the workshop would be better organized and can cover the subject area in more breadth and depth.
A few examples of seminars and workshops can be found in
the technical assistance offered by the Inter-neighborhood Corporation.
at the request of the various neighborhood groups. The topics are grouped under three areas: training in citizen participation efforts, planning in an education component and program administration and policy making. The chart that follows shows the different subtopics under each area of training.
Citizen Participation Effort
1. Overview of Citizen Involvement/Participation
2. Four Main Types of Citizen Participation
Interview with David Allen Wroblewski, Inter-neighborhood Cooperation, Denver, CO., 9 March 1981
3 A Neighborhood Committee
4. A Policy-Making Group
5. Planning For Citizen Involvement Component Operations
6. Organizing Groups and Developing Group Effectiveness and Efficiency
7. Planning For A Comprehensive Citizen Involvement Program
8. Recruitment Systems
9. Identifying and Meeting Community Needs
10. Door To Door Techniques
11. Neighborhood Organization and Community Resources/Services
12. Providing Direct Services
Traininq/Technical Assistance In An Education Component
2 Developing Curriculum
3. Individualizing An Education Component
4. Citizen Involvement/Participation In An Education Component
Training/Technical Assistance In Program/Project Administration and Policy Making
1. Overview of Administra tion and Policy
2. Program/Project Planning and Development
3. Grant Application Process
4. Personnel Administration
5. Program/Project Assessment and Self Evaluation
6. Volunteer Services
The three areas of training offer tools and techniques that can be directly applied by neighborhood groups. For example, in the subtopic "A Policy-Making Group", residents are taught the basic purposes of a policy making group and how it can be used in different applications such as project planning, personnel administration, project evaluation, etc.
A neighborhood group that is preparing a neighborhood plan will better appreciate their task of policy making. Another example is training in Grant Application Processes. The group is taught the mechanics of preparing a budget and a work program. This knowledge will enable them to apply for grants and funds to support their activities and further their goals.
Neighborhood groups can become more independent and self-sufficient with proper training. Programs, such as those offered by the Inter-neighborhood Corporation are constructive to the development of leadership potentials in neighborhood groups.
A formation of a neighborhood group coalition is an extension of the educational program on an inter-neighborhood level. The coalition will enable groups to communicate, exchange information,assist and share in ideas, skills and resources. At a practical level, the coalition will offer opportunities for two adjacent neighborhood groups to develop a friendly relationship that can facilitate the coordination of future concerns for two or more neighborhoods. The Inter-neighborhood Cooperation at Denver is an excellent example of a neighborhood group coalition.
A look at its objectives and activities shows how they have assisted 8
Inter-neighborhood Cooperation, Celebrate, First Annual Neighborhood Report (Colorado: University of Colorado)
1. To provide educational activities to neighborhood associations directed at increasing and, or reinforcing their knowledge, skills and understanding in meeting individual organizational and neighborhood needs. Training programs in the areas of citizen participation efforts, education component and program administration in policy making at the request of the neighborhood group.
2. To provide a network of communication between neighborhood associations. Published an annual report of the objectives, activities and accomplishments of member neighborhood groups.
3. To provide a forum for neighborhood associations to address shared needs, problems, concerns, and to take positions/stands on issues. Held a neighborhood annual meeting
4. To provide direct assistance through specifically designed programs. Sponsored zoning workshop in coordination with the organization of mid town.
5. To promote the concepts and principles of community development and neighborhood government. Training programs in the areas of citizen participation efforts, education component and program administration in policy making at the request of the neighborhood group.
RESIDENT INTEREST AND ACTIVITIES
Neighborhood groups can generate activities that promote a sense of belonging and usefulness by utilizing the social, cultural and recreational interests of its general membership. The group needs to identify the "who" that makes up their community by age group, by lifestyles, by profession and by interest. A sample of the "who" in a neighborhood and their corresponding activity follows to illustrate this point.
1. School Age
2. Senior Citizens
3. Architects/Engineers/ Landscape Architects
4. Health Enthusiast
5. Sports Enthusiast
- Fund raising competition such as selling cooking to support neighborhood projects
- Poster making competition to advertise a neighborhood event
- Volunteer help in neighborhood day care centers
- Volunteer service to keep house, to watch pets while neighbors are out to work or out-of-town
- Workshops or short courses on home energy saving tips, lawn keeping, landscape materials, etc.
- Fund raising dinner parties that sponsor competition in dancing, beer drinking or other group games
- Walk-for-a-cause to raise funds
- Organize sports club that arranges competition for kids and adults; classes and lessons in certain sports like in swimming, tennis, etc.
Sector - Sponsoring neighborhood events
- Advertising in newsletters
- Recycling venture where neighborhood groups can collect old newspapers, aluminum cans and bottles
REQUIREMENTS FOR GENERAL MEMBERSHIP AND CORE GROUP
Jane Jacobs in the "Death and Life of Great American Cities" believed that diversity of uses, buildings and ages gave interest and life to a city. Gruen in his cellular concept of an ideal city characterized it as a "small grained pattern in which all types of human
activities are intermingled in close proximity."
Neighborhood organizations to reach its ideal state, should like-wise be composed of a diversity of residents of different cultures, ideology, personality and lifestyles, age groups, interest and activities. The group should actively encourage the participation of residents from all walks of life. This diversity and conglomeration of people within the organization will contribute to a well of rich and refreshing ideas that will serve to advance the group in leadership and accomplishments.
The composition of the core group should be representative of the neighborhood. If the area contains residential, commercial and industrial land use, the core group should be composed of members from each sector and in numbers that closely correspond to their proportional percent in land use. For example, if 95% is residential, 4% commercial and 1% industrial, a core group of 15 can have one representative from
Victor Gruen, The Heart of Our Cities (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1964), p. 270.
the industrial group, two from the commercial sector and the rest residents and homeowners.
The requirements for a representative group ensures that views from all sectors are heard. In this manner, a neighborhood group can without further examination, become the planning team. The membership requirements for a planning team should likewise be the same as the core group.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD FORUM
The neighborhood forum should be the present day counterpart of the Greek agora. It should be a communal meeting place for residents and hold the neighborhood group's activities. Groups in Denver have used as a forum, their recreation center, various homes or churches in the area. The limitations of this practice are that residents can not meet informally unless it is scheduled. Simultaneous activities can not take place at the same place and time, people are scattered and the community can not gather together at one place. The establishment of a people and activity center within the neighborhood will eliminate this problem and bolster the frequency of activities specially if it is attractive and well designed.
The neighborhood forum or activity center may be an older residence or structure with adequate building and garden space to hold gatherings, an existing recreation center, or a school. The center should consider the following spaces and functions: a multi-purpose room for large gatherings, smaller rooms for offices and meetings, nooks for lounging and leisure get togethers, indoor sports facilities, open space for other activities. Ideally, the forum should be located in a neighborhood park geographically centered and within reasonable walking distance.
Realistically speaking, a forum is not easily affordable. But if a group is serious, then it will have a frequency and diversity of people
gathering for activities that eventually necessitate the planning for a neighborhood center.
DELEGATION OF RIGHTS AND AUTHORITY
The ideal level of neighborhood involvement in the planning process is when they have negotiating rights and certain powers delegated to them. Registered groups must be held accountable while the local government must entrust certain responsibilities to them. Only in the give and take of trust and authority can there be a semblance of real partnership between the government and its people.
In the survey and interview with neighborhood groups, it was found that they had unofficially performed to a certain degree, functions undertaken by public agencies and officials. For example, they act as police officers when they mediate between two quarreling neighbors; as planners when they initiate and prepare the neighborhood plans, as zoning enforcement officer when they see the maintenance of individual lots and alleys. This section shall attempt a list of responsibilities that registered neighborhood groups can seemingly be entrusted with. These are:
1. To actively inform and educate its residents on government structure and the functions of different departments; on citizen rights through programs and activities coordinated in conjunction with public
and private institutions.
2. To oversee the enforcement of certain zoning regulations, publicworks, functions, police functions, and other applicable agencies in conjunction with respective departments.
3. To assist and work with neighborhood planners
in the formation of policies in the neighborhood plan.
4. To have final vetoing power over the adoption of neighborhood plans within.
In the delegation of responsibilities, the area of jurisdiction becomes a concern. Ideally, neighborhood groups should not overlap.
This, however, is unrealistic. A clear delineation of boundaries may sometimes be impossible when the group defines its area on the basis of community identity and on historical affinity. The government can not dictate a size to the organization.
In the case where two groups overlap, the solution would not be to rigidly enforce a demarcation line between them. A more tactful approach is to request them to agree and determine between themselves who's who and whose side is whose. The government thus avoids the conflict and task of dividing responsibilities.
AS NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
Neighborhood groups have self-supported themselves through membership fees, fund raising activities and donations from individuals and establishments. They may also obtain funds from the city, state and federal government particularly when a neighborhood plan is under way for their area. The latter, however, is limited to capital improvements .
The diversity of activities of an ideal neighborhood will necessitate more income resource. Membership fees correspondingly increase with resident participation, but its amount is small. Donations are irregular while fund raising activities require some capital to generate more income. A possible source of sizable income would be contributions from local businesses and upper income families with disposable dollars. Registered neighborhood groups should qualify as non-profit organizations such that businesses in the area can claim a return on their income tax when they contribute to their local neighborhood group. This contribution is at the same time a form of advertisement or a public relations improvement for the firm. It is also an investment if the money should go into physical improvements, such as tree planting, bike paths, park amenities or other facilities which can enhance the location of the business and which may benefit employees of
Neighborhood Ordinance 174 defines a neighborhood organization as one or more neighborhoods, but must not encompass the whole city.
An organization may, therefore, cover 99% of the city and still be valid. For the City of Denver, a group of this size would defeat the purpose of encouraging resident participation, the same reason for which the ordinance sought to promote.
The determination of an upper limit for neighborhood group size is difficult. On an experimental basis, the size for a Denver neighborhood group may be determined by the average size or median of existing groups.
A second possibility is to consider conceptual figures by authors on neighborhood sizes for their "ideal" city. An example is Victor Gruen's idea of neighborhood and community in the "Metropolis of Tomorrow."^
A lower limit may be neighborhood size of 900 people. An upper limit could be the town size of 25,000.
A third possibility is to go by neighborhood statistical units. This however, may split existing registered neighborhood groups in two as their boundaries do not coincide with the statistical units.
Victor Gruen, The Heart of Our Cities. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1964), p. 275.
The smallness in size is not critical, but the maximum size needs to be determined such that the application by a group considering an area that is about as large as the city can be legally denied.
The size is dependent on the number of staff and working hours available. However, the size can not indefinitely increase with staff additions. There is a point at which communication and coordination is hampered. This study was not able to arrive at a conclusive solution to the proper or ideal size for a neighborhood group. Too many variables were interrelated. For example, activity frequency was a function of staff and time availability, to resident interest and priority, to the urgency of the problem. Further structured observation will be needed to establish this ideal number.
THE METROPOLIS OF TOMORROW POPULATION OF INDIVIDUAL CELLULAR CLUSTERS
Cluster Standards Total
Neighborhood 250 Fam. @ 3.6 Per Family 900
Community Center = 250 Fam. @ 3.6 = 900 + 5 x NH. =
Town Center = 1,000 Fam. @ 3.4 =
3,400 + 4 x Comm. = 3,400 + 21,600 25,000
City Center = 10,000 Fam. @ 3.0 =
30,000 + 10 x Town = 30,000 + 250,000 280,000
Metroframe 10,000 Fam. @2.5=25,000 xlO 250,000
Metrocenter 100,000 Fam. @ 2.5 250,000