Central Avenue Area Community Impact Assessment Forum
- Hey, SCOPA members! The Central Park Area Community Forum on
Saturday was a great event. I honestly believe it was the beginning
of a long-term positive dialogue among public agency "bureaucrats,"
nonprofit representatives, and residents. It will make for much
improved neighborhood development, not just for Central Park Village
and its environs but for a much wider area, perhaps all of Tampa and
Hillsborough County. And, what makes me proud is that
anthropologists from USF and SCOPA played leadership, generative, and
Memphis anthropologist Stan Hyland, whom Susan Greenbaum had invited
in as one already experienced in this kind of effort, did a marvelous
job of helping to ease the relations among these separate players.
He uses a metaphor that has the community residents using a three-
legged stool to boost their own capabilities, the legs being the
public bureaucrats, the academic scholars, and the nonprofit service
agencies. The relationships among all these components represent a
knowledge base that, in each neighborhood, can be used to increase
the quality of life for all the participants.
New technologies, electronic databases and geographic information
systems, make it possible to recognize the community assets, in
neighborhoods targeted for rehabilitation or destruction and for
neighborhoods into which relocated households might move.
Recording those community assets alone is not an end in itself. It
is important disseminate the information to those who will use it, to
the residents themselves who must decide what options they can
exercise should they stay or should they leave, should they fight
for their own neighborhood or should they elect to move out and if so
Dr. Hyland described the efforts they have made, and are still
making, in Memphis to collect and disseminate such valuable
information to residents. They tried establishing resource centers
in local neighborhoods, but nobody came. They tried information
kiosks spread widely in neighborhoods, again with disappointing
results. Now they are trying to work through the middle schools,
combining the ideas that children are adept at electronic
communication, and children are connected to families that need all
the kinds of information that are in this knowledge base that is
being developed by public agencies, nonprofit agencies and academic
I am just giving you some of my informal reactions to the Forum.
Hopefully other SCOPA members will add their comments via this SCOPA
YahooGroup. And, later, I hope the official recorders of the forum
will share their more full and more formal records with us through
this SCOPA YahooGroup. Finally, I hope that our anthropological
input continues at a high level.