Tyna Rule, president of the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative (CSNI) board of directors, and Ian B. Bautista, executive director of CSNI, identify the common elements of prosperity in their neighborhood.
In today’s day and age of struggle and strife, it is refreshing to be invited by the media to share our thinking about community and most importantly, community prosperity.
We are not a group of “Pollyannas.” We know there are great challenges that individuals, families and entire geographic and other-defined communities face that are daunting and structural. We are active in doing our part to call these challenges out and to take steps to change them. But that is not what we choose to write about today.
Today and beginning recently, our neighborhood has begun to talk about itself in terms that are progressive, forward facing, and indicative of our aspirations. Some refer to this as asset-based community development (ABCD) and we’re accepting of that label. Not long ago, the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative, tuned into a recurring theme among neighbors: prosperity.
While there may be as many definitions of prosperity as there are people, we aim to understand directly from our neighbors and partners what their meaning of prosperity is. So far, in the conversations we’ve had there are many similarities.
People want to be recognized for the value they bring to the equation of community life. All of our neighbors have value (the ‘gifts’ that ABCD practitioners talk about) that can be identified and added to one another to create a beautiful composition that is the foundation of a healthy neighborhood.
Starting from there, we recognize that our neighbors strive to attain greater economic prosperity. Many of them wish to physically improve their own health, their families’ well being, their homes, their businesses or their neighborhood’s general prosperity. Several neighbors are actively seeking greater emotional prosperity or even more basic stability. Many of our neighbors seek understanding of their own spirituality and prosperity in this deep and personal sense.
These four elements of prosperity — economic, physical, emotional and spiritual — make up the four dimensions of a prosperous Clarke Square. We collectively strive to define these four elements and create ways to measure prosperity in each one.
While we are at the beginning of this new conversation about prosperity, we are excited about how it can describe a beautiful future with and for our neighborhood. Let us know what you think. What does prosperity mean to you?
Contact Tyna Rule at firstname.lastname@example.org and Ian Bautista at email@example.com.