Report to SCOPA on USF Collab Work Group Meeting
- Report to SCOPA on the May 27th meeting of the Neighborhood and
Communities Workgroup of the USF Collaborative for Children, Families
The Workgroup met as planned, although there were some logistical
problems, and we had to meet in the Dean's Conference Room instead of
the Westside Conference Center Room A where it had been originally
scheduled. This caused some problems for those who could not find
I hope none of the SCOPA anthropologists were among those who were
completely lost. We had good representation: Glenn Brown, Susan
Greenbaum, Dawn Hayes, Michele Ogilvie, Beverly Ward, and Alvin
After quite a lengthy discussion of Research Day and its implications
for East Tampa (where we had promised follow-up in the form of encore
presentations in East Tampa on relevant projects similar to those
given on Research Day), there was also a fairly lengthy discussion of
how best to promote "service learning" activities in East Tampa and
elsewhere, and how to maximize their effectiveness both for USF and
the Community. Much of that discussion would be of interest to SCOPA
members, but I won't go into detail here.
It turned out that the presentation by the staff of the Planning
Commission (Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission) was
very much about the same sort of thing that we had wanted to
encourage the Workgroup and the Collaborative on. They, represented
by Terry Cullen and were hopeful that the Collaborative might serve
as something like a "Think Tank" (although nobody likes that term) to
help with developing Hillsborough County's 2025 Plan.
Our issue was on the agenda as: "Alvin Wolfe suggestion: Impact of
large redevelopment projects on urban residents and the
neighborhood." We simply used discussion of the Planning Commission
presentation to further our own agenda to support a more consistent
and regular program of needs assessments and impact assessments of
neighborhoods, communities, cities and counties.
Susan Greenbaum made very clear her position that somebody should be
doing social impact assessment whenever there is a plan to move a
significant number of residents.
I argued that applied anthropologists have been doing that kind of
thing in this area for a number of years, pointing out that the
masters and doctoral dissertation projects of USF's applied
anthropology programs were proof of that. I expressed my view that
we were doing better at this in the 1970s than we are now. I also
called to their attention that as early as 1971 the City of
Clearwater had passed a strong ordinance requiring impact assessments
of any development project in Clearwater. The City Manager who
implemented that ordinance was Picot Floyd, who later served as
Hillsborough County's Administrator, then still later joined USF in
both Public Administration and Urban Design and Research, and finally
earned his doctorate in applied anthropology. During those periods,
Hillsborough County seemed more receptive to impact assessment than
it does now.
All the anthropologists joined in this discussion, and I am sure our
voices were heard. There was some concern expressed, however, that
what we were proposing sounded more like "advocacy" than "research."
Obviously, that concern will have to be addressed, and I think we can
demonstrate that advocacy and research are not totally incompatible.
The Chair of the Workgroup, Harold Keller, Professor of Education,
suggested that a small committee consisting of himself, Judy Jetson,
Executive Director of the Collaborative, and Alvin Wolfe might draft
a proposal to respond to the Planning Commission and these other
issues that were being discussed.
Obviously, we have gotten something off the ground. And I believe we
should continue to discuss it through this medium of our SCOPA
YahooGroup, so that we can enlighten each other and develop some
consensus about what should be done.