This summer we worked on a project called Building Healthy Communities. We worked throughout Danville to try to understand how to create safe and equitable communities that promote health and wellness through a community association and shared community space. For us, safe space is both a theoretical term and and a physical structure. It’s a welcoming, inclusive, and public space that all members of a community can utilize. As we’ll recommend later, it can be found in the creation of a peace center, but the attributes that make a space safe can also manifest themselves through the proper development of parks and neighborhoods.
We think that established community associations and community centers are important for a few reasons. Throughout Danville, community members consistently raise concerns that their neighborhoods are unsafe. We think the intentional creation of safe spaces will help mitigate this problem. Residents have also expressed a need for a common gathering space. Sharing a space with your neighbors is likely to increase social cohesion and communication among residents, both of which are needed throughout Danville. Lastly, we think that accomplishing this objective will serve as a catalyst for change in communities. Residents who help start a community association will feel empowered, and will be more likely to continue to create the change they want to see in their neighborhood.
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All of these opportunities boil down to our final recommendation, which is to invest in the community at the community level. Community members’ opinions should be prioritized when discussing development and investment that will directly affect the and their neighborhood. Development needs to intentionally empower community members, instead of approaching the community with a vision and insisting that they accept it.
We recommend working collaboratively with residents to establish a neighborhood association. This association could continue to empower its residents by providing training and educational opportunities. Community leaders would benefit from classes on grant-writing and community-based programming, while community members would benefit from classes on parenting and financial literacy. We also recommend collaborating with community leaders to implement community development projects, such as painting a retaining wall like Amanda mentioned earlier and like Ms. Constance did at Cardinal Village, creating a monthly neighborhood clean up day, or establishing a peace center.
Add picture of peace center
Building Healthy Communities - Hoque and Holland - 2017 Intern
● Objective: To create safe and
equitable communities that
promote health and wellness
through a community
association and shared
Why This Is
● To address the safety concen
residents have communicated
● To provide a communal gathering
● To be a catalyst for change
● Invest in the community at the neighborhood level
○ Work with residents to establish neighborhood associations
○ Provide opportunities for training through educational workshops for
community leaders and residents
○ Collaborate with community leaders to create and implement
community development projects