Bringing in the Community

Veteran dean of alternative journalism and third-party politics Sam Smith recently reported on the latest developments in the community justice movement for the online edition of the Progressive Review, in a post entitled "Bringing the Community Into Law and Order." The post covers problem-solving justice news from New York, California, Vancouver, the UK, and other related items.

You can view other urban affairs related news from the Progressive Review City Planning, Transportation, and Urban Affairs Archive. For some highlights of interest to community justice advocates, Read More. A green homeless shelter

'"You'll wake up here and feel good because it's an environment that is healthy. We are asking our people to deal with some heavy issues, so it is best that we support their health," said Wendy Jackson, executive director of the East Oakland Community Project. "Many of the clients are ill, about 60 percent are ill, often with chronic diseases of asthma, diabetes, so we wanted to do whatever we can to make this as healthy an environment as possible," she said. The building, with high windows for natural light and walls painted with a green paint that does not emit toxins, has an airy, good feel to it.'
Preserving Culture and Community as well as we do History, By Sam Smith, and the The Great Neighborhood Book, By Jay Walljasper
Abandoned lots and litter-strewn pathways, or rows of green beans and pockets of wildflowers? Graffiti-marked walls and desolate bus stops, or shady refuges and comfortable seating? What transforms a dingy, inhospitable area into a dynamic gathering place? How do individuals take back their neighborhood? Neighborhoods decline when the people who live there lose their connection and no longer feel part of their community. Recapturing that sense of belonging and pride of place can be as simple as planting a civic garden or placing some benches in a park.

The Great Neighborhood Book explains how most struggling communities can be revived, not by vast infusions of cash, not by government, but by the people who live there. The author addresses such challenges as traffic control, crime, comfort and safety, and developing economic vitality. Using a technique called "placemaking"-- the process of transforming public space -- this exciting guide offers inspiring real-life examples that show the magic that happens when individuals take small steps, and motivate others to make change. Jay Walljasper is a Senior Fellow of Project for Public Spaces (PPS), whose mission is to create and sustain enriching public places that build communities. He is a former editor of Utne Reader and currently Executive Editor of Ode Magazine.