Bottling the Je Ne Sais Quoi of Communities

That certain, indescribable something.

Every community across the US wants to have it. It is that seemingly magical essence that drives engagement and investment, and instills a sense of pride and responsibility in a community. Where does it come from? How does it permeate neighborhoods in such a way that even visitors – strangers to the area – are drawn to it, and find that they somehow want to become part of it?

As economic development practitioners and community leaders, we know that this essence does not come cheap, easily, or without years of dogged planning and engagement. It requires a laser-like focus on identified outcomes, no matter what short-term, “shiny object” may materialize to distract from established community goals.

Frustratingly, it also seems to require no small bit of luck: luck that elected leadership will stay on the same page; luck that area employers will remain market-alinged and poised for continued operation or even better, growth; luck that community members will not develop amnesia to the recent, pre-program past and all its negative affects; luck that population numbers will not dwindle, undercutting improvement efforts; the list goes on. Of course, factors of luck can be mitigated to a degree through a regime of messaging, communication, celebration, and continued education; but even with all this investment in laying the foundation for action and continually shoring it up, the intangible, un-affectable factors of luck will yet remain.

There is such a thing as bad luck, and poor planning. More often however, these factors can be boiled down to one thing: inaction.

Action. Change. Evolution. These things are the stuff of life – and it is these things that drive engagement, vibrancy, and ultimately result in that intangible essence that is so widely sought across the board. Allowing a community to stagnate – for buildings to remain functionally obsolete and deteriorating, for infrastructure and amenities to not evolve to meet current needs – is the direct path away from economic solvency and is, in effect, the willful release of the unique je ne sais quois of your community.

Of course, Action, Change, and Evolution are the the result of focused, dogged Implementation of a plan. Plans must be rooted in the market realities that have evolved over the recent past, and look to build on current assets to affect a positive future. Plans such as these require an understanding of best practices, current market conditions across the residential, commercial and industrial markets, and a clear set of goals and directives that would result from plan implementation. Most of all, however, plans require action.

Redevelopment Resources prides itself on bringing results through implementation to our clients. We have broad-based experience in not only conducting in-depth, meaningful research and action plan development across all sectors of the community economy – from housing to commercial and industrial markets – but we back up this work by engaging in the implementation of our plans in our client communities daily. If your community has lost its essence and vibrancy, let us help you recapture your communities’ unique je ne sais quois through research, planning and implementation for results.


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