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Central Avenue Area Community Impact Assessment Forum

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  • Alvin W. Wolfe
    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
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 19, 2005
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      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
      brokerage roles.

      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
      where?

      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
      institutions.

      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.

      --Alvin
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