Creating a Successful Neighborhood Development Plan

Association of Construction and Development
September 13, 2012 — 1,887 views  

A neighborhood development plan (NDP) can serve as a blueprint for the overall direction and improvement of any neighborhood. Neighborhood plans can be used to increase the economic strength of a given area and to boost real estate values. They are also used to improve residential quality-of-life. 

There are many techniques used to create NDPs. While there are a variety of valid approaches to creating an NDP, individuals working on the plan development process should be sure to keep the following techniques in mind. 

Identify the neighborhood's key assets. In order to craft an NDP that allows for neighborhood growth, you must identify the neighborhood's key assets. Assets might be physical locations or particular areas of community strength. Throughout the NDP process, you will need to consider how you can leverage these assets in order to allow for community health and growth. 

Identify neighborhood thought leaders. The residents of a neighborhood will have a huge effect on the overall success or failure of an NDP. Before bringing residents on board, you will need to identify community thought leaders. These might be community political figures or individuals who are actively involved in community groups. Approach these individuals to discuss initial NDP ideas. 

Involve residents in planning activities. After you have secured the support of community thought leaders, you can work to actively involve residents in neighborhood planning. Hold regular, open meetings and invite residents to attend them. Listen to resident suggestions and concerns. While some residents may be reluctant to see their neighborhoods change, others will be eager to assist with your project. Don't underestimate the knowledge of area residents. 

Clearly define responsibilities and roles. During the NDP process, there should be a clearly identified plan leader. You should also clearly define the roles of all other individuals involved. Allow for checks and balances but try not to create too much overlap between roles. Assigning clear roles is a good way to keep everyone on task and to avoid major conflicts. 

Adopt a democratic decision-making process. An NDP will never succeed if only one person is calling all the shots. The NDP process should be democratic. Be sure that stakeholders and individuals involved in the creation of the plan have a fair say in plan direction. Take open, public votes whenever possible. If a particularly contentious issue arises, you may wish to take a vote by secret ballot in order to control tensions and ensure a successful outcome.

Association of Construction and Development