Building Community Capacity Through Multisector Collaborations

Jane F. Morgan

This chapter explores the Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corporation's (LISC) – a national community development intermediary – experience with geographically targeted, cross-sector collaboration. This chapter identifies lessons learned from Detroit LISC's shift to targeted Strategic Investment Areas (SIAs), in establishing and supporting collaborations across community development, educational, human service, and other sectors.

Communities continue to struggle with the daunting challenge of revitalizing local neighborhoods, particularly in older cities, like Detroit. Progress in neighborhood redevelopment depends, in part, on a community's ability and willingness to implement new approaches to achieve their goals. Changing strategies can have positive outcomes but rarely come easily. In Detroit, LISC conducted the research, obtained stakeholder input, and implemented the model explored here.

An assessment of Detroit's experience is best accomplished within the framework of neighborhood planning. The chapter begins by providing a brief history of the evolution of neighborhood planning and community development corporations (CDCs). The next section provides a context for understanding community planning in Detroit and the forces that led to the development of the SIAs. Then the chapter addresses the increasingly critical role of multisector collaboration as the cornerstone not only of the SIA model but of any effective neighborhood planning process. Following on this, the chapter identifies key factors that can be used to measure the success of multisector collaborative planning models for SIAs. The chapter summarizes the implications for the field.

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