Tax day has come and gone. You’ve paid your dues. And you probably have very little say over how those federal dollars are going to be spent. But at the local level, an increasing number of cities and towns are turning to their residents to propose projects and make important budget decisions.
Hundreds of communities have trash pick-ups or recycling initiatives, tree planting and energy conservation. But just a handful are writing comprehensive sustainability plans or reinventing themselves as meccas of green economic development. Kaid Benfield writes frequently on the NRDC Switchboard blog about some of the best of the best, and here are a few more, along with the tools that have made them successful.
Richard Florida has written compellingly about the value of the creative class and the importance of attracting creative people to boost local economies. And many communities have embraced creative economic development or citizen engagement strategies, making arts part of the downtown landscape or highlighting arts-based non-profits.
The web is chock-full of community planning tools, resources, websites, and guides. The biggest challenge sometimes seems to be sorting through them all to find the resources that are truly valuable. Here are our picks for three comprehensive guides and toolkits that every community ought to bookmark. They’ll take you through the whole process of building stronger, more engaged communities, from communicating with the public to making sound decisions and then taking action.
So you’ve got something to say, but you’re not quite ready to pitch a tent and wait out the winter with Occupy Wall Street? Never fear: there are plenty of creative ways that you can make a statement and make change – from the comfort of your own community. You don’t need to commit weeks of your time to holding signs on a street corner; instead think about some easy, low-cost and low-effort ways of making a statement and starting a conversation. If you’ve got an issue or a challenge, look into these three great resources for taking them to your local streets.