Great Neighborhoods and the NDDC

Last night, the NDDC hosted their Annual Partnership Celebration at the Grand featuring a presentation by Jay Walljasper, author of The Great Neighborhood Book.  This is a book which has been recommended to me repeatedly but which I haven’t read quite yet.

I’d call Mr. Walljasper’s approach “low tech, bottom up community development” aimed at regular community members, not government officials, city planners, or other experts – although there is much officialdom could take away from last night’s presentation.

Besides official policy documents like the Comprehensive Plan and Council initiatives for improving neighborhoods, there are small steps you can take (and the Council can follow) to help make your Ward 2 neighborhood better.

Mr. Walljasper called dogs an indicator species for the neighborhood environment.  As the owner of 2 large dogs, I like this idea.   What do dogs need?  Places to walk, places to hang out (dogs can hang out together in the dog park in Ward 4), safe streets,  things to watch (things to sniff…).

But back to the Comp Plan and city action…Northfield has been working toward some of these small ideas in its big plan.  I’m a big supporter of the form-based Comp Plan which takes the street (and its sidewalks, public spaces, and how buildings are oriented to the street) as fundamental to making Northfield a place people want to live, work, play, walk and walk their dogs.

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