Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I missed this in November: Frank Mills and the Urban Paradox

CATALYST CLEVELAND :: Viewpoints--Frank Mills wrote this viewpoint a few months ago, and it did not get into my purview until just now. It's a good read for anybody interested in basic talk and cutting to the chase, actually getting something done instead of just talking about it. I also see in COOL Cleveland that Frank is over at David Allen Moss' FUTURE Center on January 30th.

Urban Paradoxes founder Frank A. Mills invites anyone who is a "graffiti artist, psycho-geographer, urban explorer or interested in public art, urban planning or are an urban social worker" to join him at CIA's FUTURE Center for Design and Technology Transfer for Tuesdays@FUTURE on Tue 1/30 at 4:30-6:15PM Info and Info and Info.

Here's the lead-in thesis to the November piece:

The problem in Cleveland is that our Community Development Corporations (CDCs) are quasi-public agencies funded by block grants administered by individual City Council members. But the mayor's appointees in the city administration also control funding and directly influence what CDCs can do.Given the history of CDC funding in Cleveland and how it has driven some CDCs to poach in other CDC territories for funding, I do not believe you will find any CDC willing to demand that politicians or developers address the real quality of life issues that revitalize neighborhoods, including the creation of strong neighborhood schools.As I work in neighborhood revitalization around the country, I see strong neighborhoods and schools emerging in cities where CDCs are (1) grassroots initiatives, both adult and student, (2) funded privately, usually by a combination of resident and neighborhood business dollars, and where (3) businesses are willing to become directly involved. When foundation or public funds are used, they almost always come after a strong grassroots plan has been put in place.

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