How good does it sound for competent, responsible people – wearing ‘grassroots hats’ – NOT to have to become an incorporated body to do a community job done that needs doing?
‘Place-based, bottom up community planning’ sounds inclusive and relevant to all community groups/residents/businessowners interested in a sustainable future. According to a recent MAV (Municipal Association of Victoria) Bulletin this style of planning is now widely used here and will soon be ’embedded in state and local government decisionmaking’.
Seattle’s experience – in the US – has been a ‘model’. Seattle has developed a Matching Grants program which has spread to over 100 cities around the world.
The Neighborhood Matching Fund provides money to Seattle neighborhood groups and organizations for a broad array of neighborhood-initiated improvement, organizing or planning projects. A neighborhood group may be established to undertake one specific project – the group does not need to be ‘incorporated’.
Once a project is approved, the community’s contribution of volunteer labor, materials, professional services, or cash will be ‘matched’ by cash from the Neighborhood Matching Fund.
In Victoria the MAV is running regional roadshows to discuss this approach, the outcomes of the recent Future of Local Government Summit and the proposed implementation plans with councillors. (MAV Bulletin 646, week ending August 10).
This online planning tool is intended to ‘help guide policy direction that enhances community wellbeing’. It is the flagship project of the McCaughey Centre and was launched this week. It is supported by Melbourne Uni and VicHealth.
The free interactive website can produce up-to-date, customised community wellbeing repoprts by local government area and within the context of state and regional results. It broings together existing data from the ABS, government departments, Victoria Police and other organisations, along with newly collected indicators into a centralised source of information. Data for the 80 wellbeing indicators will continue to be updated over time.
Seattle is now a world leader in community engagement & planning. BALLE Seattle – the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies – works towards connecting, educating and promoting its King County businesses who support the Local Living Economies philosophy. Across the US there are 52 independently operated BALLE local business networks with more than 15,000 members aiming to ‘grow’ sustainable communities.
BALLE and its local networks have brought together thousands of for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, local/state governments, and individual citizens who are initiating a shift toward Local Living Economies. Having reached a certain critical mass these BALLE networks will continue to deepen their impact in communities throughout North America for years to come.