You've come a long way- and you need a new Paradigm
Coyote Medicine, by Dr. Lewis Madrona, a native American MD, talks about doctors. Doctors are the extreme of what ails our culture. They are overwhelmed in med school with all kinds of disconnected knowledge, that is not holistic. The result is a medical system that is No. 1 worldwide for cost per capita, and No. 72 among nations for results. You are getting closer to a holistic goal, but you aren't there yet. You have metaphorically put most of the engine together, and 3 of the 4 wheels, but you still need to install a few parts before you can drive this baby on the road. So. If you actually applied all those good ideas, and the other good ideas you'll pick up on the way- what would you have? If we already had ideal communities, magnificent places to live, that most if not all agreed were wonderful paradises- what would we have? Because we don't know. We know only the pathology of the average. If you don't know, you won't get there. You'll be overwhelmed with detail that doesn't support the goal of health. You need a Vision, an image of that ideal community. You need it in pictures, and words that evoke pictures. Right now, we have the cans, but we don't have the plastic thing to hold them together. Right now, what we have is a vague desire to go somewhere, and we know something about the increments of how to get there. I remember when my child told me about going to Disneyworld. Was there talk of what kind of food there'd be on the plane, how long we'd wait in the security line, what kind of clothes to bring, whether we needed sunscreen? Oh no. There was just a POWERFUL VISION OF ALREADY BEING THERE, which filled that kid up with energy. That energy washed over the obstacles like a river in flood over a dam. All those technical details worked themselves out, in the process, and they weren't that difficult. The key was the VISION. Without Vision, the people perish. Shaun, Ron, what is your VISION? If you had to explain your vision to a 10 year old child, how would you do it? What would you say to them? If that 10 year old child was walking through that ideal community, what would they see, hear, and feel? How would they know it was ideal? We need that VISION. We'll know it's done right when it's so inspiring that people just leap in to help, when you have to add extra bandwidth to handle all the useful info coming in, sorted by topic, on a HUDWiki. You'll know it's done right when things start happening just like on a Habitat for Humanity site. You'll know it's done right when people joyfully report on positive indicators, and even make improving their neighborhood a competitive sport. That's how it is with anything that is fun. Fun sells itself. If you heard about a fun club, with a lot of good energy, a happening place - do you have to be forced to go there? No, you find a way. And the one thing this strategic plan lacks is FUN. Where is the fun? How can we make these hard, difficult tasks EASY LIKE THEY ARE FOR A CHILD, by making them fun? How can you hope to accomplish what you say you want, without making it all fun? Shaun, Ron, I'm walking through a community that benefitted from everything in the Strat Plan, in 2015. This place is magnificent, I love living here. I walk the streets. There's no crime- people have hope, and make more money in legal activity. There's no drugs, nobody wants to take the risk of selling them. There's no users, because people don't have emotional pain, they don't need to anesthetize themselves, they have so much more fun being sober. People help each other. There are arts and crafts, it is FUN to live in this community. People come to us from all over the world, to learn how we did it. This place is green- no pesticides are even sold. There are permaculture gardens with food plants, and urban agriculture, making the city green, green, green. There's no racial discrimination, it's too much fun to learn about other people and cultures. This city has it all. So, ok, Shaun and Ron: the plan as constituted has one end- where we are now. It lacks the other end- of the Vision, because not only do we need to plan going out to the Vision, we also need to backplan, from the results back to the chain of activities, to the now. Right now this is one-sided, and not nearly as focused as a Strat Plan needs to be. You mostly got the language of the grey lawyers in their grey suits in their grey offices with grey windows and computer screens out of this, which is good. Now how about we breathe some life into it, with a really inspiring Vision of what is possible? We need a plan that speaks to people (with web infrastructure support we don't have now), one where just about everybody would say, "Omigod! YESSSSSSSSS! I want this! This will be so much fun! How can I get started today? Who can I work with to make stuff happen right now?"
Where are the arts related goals for Community Development? Creative Community Builder's Handbook: How to Transform Communities Using Local Assets, Arts, and Culture [book]
HUD is not apparently including arts in its community development strategy. This is unfortunate, as there is lots of evidence that this is critical to CD success. Previous HUD publications on CD have at least given lip service to the arts; this needs to get good emphasis, in the Strat Plan.