Smart Communities: How Citizens and Local Leaders Can Use Strategic Thinking to Build a Brighter Future

Smart Communities: How Citizens and Local Leaders Can Use Strategic Thinking to Build a Brighter Future

Smart Communities: How Citizens and Local Leaders Can Use Strategic Thinking to Build a Brighter Future

Smart Communities: How Citizens and Local Leaders Can Use Strategic Thinking to Build a Brighter Future

Synopsis

Based on the results of more than a decade of research by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, Smart Communities provides directions for strategic decision-making and outlines the key strategies used by thousands of leaders who have worked to create successful communities. Smart Communities offers leaders from both the public and private sectors the tools they need to create a better future for all the community's citizens. Using illustrative examples from communities around the country, Smart Communities shows how these change agents' well-structured decision-making processes can be traced to their effective use of seven key leverage points:
  • Investing right the first time
  • Working together
  • Building on community strengths
  • Practicing democracy
  • Preserving the past
  • Growing leaders
  • Inventing a brighter future

Excerpt

In 1972, Yogi Berra and his wife, Carmen, were on their way to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. As the hours rolled on and the sites stayed unfamiliar, Yogi tried to put Carmen’s mind to rest by saying, “We’re lost but we’re making good time” (1998, p. 51). Although efficiency is a poor substitute for being lost, it provides a good metaphor for thinking about the future of communities. We tend to do three things as we contemplate change: we just keep driving in the same direction and hope we will get there; we refuse to ask directions; or worst of all, we blame our situation on the map, the navigator, or the state highway department. in other words, for too many communities, the future just happens. It is time to think strategically about the roads and the routes that will take communities and citizens where they want to go. History and experience have taught us that some communities do better than others. Abundant educational resources, natural beauty, or a nice climate may help, but they alone do not provide the ticket to success. Could it be that some places are just luckier than others?

The Idea for the Book

This book has been in my mind for much of the last twenty years. After having a front-row seat watching community change, first at the Kettering Foundation and then at the Pew Partnership for Civic . . .

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