The 5th Annual Community Development Summit, held on May 12-13, 2015, was entitled “Physical Places for Social Spaces”.

The way we interact, plan, and think is rapidly evolving. The millennial generation and digital age has dared us to take more innovative approaches and to work smarter and with more strategic foresight. The ripe opportunities for redevelopment also challenge us to ensure prosperity for all our communities and residents while providing for evocative places that are reflective of our cities’ deep legacies.

See below to learn more about the sessions and view the presentations given at the 5th Annual Community Development Summit. Presentations are in PDF format.

To read the 2015 Community Development Summit Program, click here.

Creative Strategies and Tools to Make Your Neighborhood Safer

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This session will discuss creative and nontraditional strategies and tools to improving public safety in our neighborhoods. Using LISC’s Community Safety Initiative model, the panel will present national best practices working in other neighborhoods across the nation including: 1) Applied Technology 2) Asset-Liability Mapping 3) Community Policing and Program Solving Partnerships, 4) Crime Prevention Through Environment Design (CPTED), and 5) Nuisance Abatement. Local experts will demonstrate how these national approaches can be applied locally through the Northside Diversion Program.

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Re-Establishing Identity in a Disinvested Neighborhood

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In 2011, Warren Ohio’s central city was rapidly succumbing to the devastating impacts of the foreclosure crisis. A partnership between the Trumbull County Land Bank, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership (TNP), and gregg’s gardens began working together to restore the sense of community in this neighborhood. In 2012, the Land Bank acquired funds to demolish 260 blighted properties, many of those in Warren’s central city. Some of these lots were secured by gregg’s gardens and filled with wildflowers and community gardens. This initiative gave the neighborhood a new identity and the area was re-branded the “Garden District.”

However, The Land Bank’s inventory was still filled with dozens of tax delinquent Garden District properties. In 2014, TNP, the Land Bank, and gregg’s gardens turned to additional partners through private investment and local nonprofit, Trumbull 100. An “Adopt-a-House” program was created to use rolling private capital to fund housing renovations which were marketed to owner-occupants who will provide continued neighborhood investment.

Warren’s Garden District was transformed due to a strategic partnership between a non-profit CDC, a land bank, a grassroots effort, and private capital. This model can serve as an example for similar neighborhoods nationwide.

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Big Ideas on Small Business Lending

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A recent Federal Reserve survey that has found small businesses seeking financing last year had better approval rates at community banks than seeking credit at a large regional or national institutions. However, the total volume of small business lending remains stubbornly stagnant. Panelists will explore how we can collectively encourage small business lending, specifically more relationship lending. Additional credit demographics and trends will also be explored by looking at the current lending environment.

Presenters:

Aaron Aldrich, Bridgeway Capital
Benjamin Contrucci, United American Savings Bank
Amy Enrico, Tazza Doro Café
Emily Keebler, KIVA
Joseph Ott, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Pittsburgh Branch

 

Let's Get Technical about Involving Residents

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This panel will cite unique examples – ranging from Detroit to Pittsburgh – to demonstrate how more representative data collection and the latest technologies in surveying are leading to a better process for redevelopment and engaged communities.

-Detroit’s Historic Resource Survey assessed nearly 18,000 historic properties in just two weeks using smartphones and local volunteers! The data was used to inform demolition decisions (among other things) and serves as a replicable model.

-Relocal, a tool developed by PlaceEconomics, uses 90 metrics to evaluate neighborhood health, character, and sustainability, including a weighted community evaluation component. Relocal provides recommendations for land banks, preservation advocates, and others making planning and reinvestment strategies, specifically focusing on reincorporating vacant properties.

-Operation Better Block is using a non-traditional approach called cluster planning to create a plan for Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood and organize community residents to advocate for future development and prevent displacement. Engagement is maximized through data collection, resident-driven planning, and by systematically focusing on smaller areas of the neighborhood through the creation of resident cluster associations.

Presenters:

Amy Elliott Bragg, Preservation Detroit
Emilie Evans, PlaceEconomics
Demi Kolke, Operation Better Block, Inc.

 

Third Places- Building Trust with New Neighbors

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Rapid neighborhood change and redevelopment can bring an influx of new people that threatens to jeopardize the existing community identity. Third places, which serve as social spaces in a community separate from the workplace and home environment, can address this discomfort by bringing neighbors of contrasting backgrounds together.
This session will demonstrate the importance of third spaces in creating a community’s character by exploring projects featuring the arts, parks and open space development and housing design strategies from Pittsburgh neighborhoods undergoing change. Case studies will include The Corner, a pinnacle of cross-cultural expression, the arts, and racial reconciliation and other third places in the Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Panelists will provocatively explore:
How do different populations learn to live together within the same space?
How can new third places be inclusive of the community already living in an area?
How have communities (historically or currently) responded in reaction to changes in their neighborhood’s design and physical landscape?

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Pittsburgh's East End Being Put to Work

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A recent report commissioned by The Pittsburgh Foundation and prepared by the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (3RWIB) is providing an understanding of labor market dynamics, workforce needs, and workforce services in Pittsburgh’s East End and, thereby, assisting in developing neighborhood-based strategies in the area. These strategies can enhance service delivery and improve responsiveness to job seeker and employer needs at the hyper-local level.

Catalytic investment is driving a new and inclusive game plan for this neighborhood’s economic development prosperity. Why did the Pittsburgh Foundation choose to invest in the East End for this analysis? How will the report’s findings and recommendations actually connect people to jobs? How is the East End using this to lay the groundwork for the future? Come understand this thoughtful neighborhood-based strategy so you can you take their key takeaways back to your community.

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Making Business Personal

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Freelancers and entrepreneurs have always been an integral part of a neighborhood economy in some way; nonetheless trends in micro-entrepreneurship, business incubation, and co-working spaces are hotter than ever. These strategies can provide access to jobs and business district enhancements, but for whom?

Is it possible for an incubator primarily serving college-educated tech developers to also benefit the struggling community in which it’s located?

A well-regarded panel will engage in a lively debate on the benefits and shortfalls of creating a full serving neighborhood economy. An overview of trends and models for supporting freelancers and entrepreneurs will be followed by a discussion of evocative questions such as: Who are these programs serving? How are neighborhoods benefiting? What can be done to make them part of a holistic strategy for community and economic development? And whose responsibility is it to ensure that they are truly all-encompassing?

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Modernizing Your Zoning Code for the Community You Want

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Many first-ring suburbs in the Pittsburgh area have existed for decades with their zoning ordinances in almost complete contradiction to the actual conditions in the community and in conflict with desirable development attributes. Following the demise of the steel industry, almost any new development seemed welcomed and variances were haphazardly granted based on relationships and requests rather than actual criteria. Rather than encouraging quality new development by imposing realistic requirements, these dated ordinances forced interested developers to incur cost and risk to mitigate requirements of obsolete ordinances.

Recently multiple municipalities, including five assisted by the Mon Valley Initiative, have been undertaking broad, community-based rewrites of their zoning ordinances. This session will focus on how these new ordinances were developed with residents guiding the process, allowing them to determine how their own communities redevelop into the future. Case studies will present practical and interesting observations all too common about resident perception versus market realities and examine creative methods to encourage preservation, transit oriented design and urban agriculture while eliminating blight.

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Tick Tock! When Your Low Income Housing Tax Credits Are Turning Fifteen

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What happens to low income housing tax credits at year 15 and beyond? This session will be for those facing Year 15 decisions today, those who will face them in the future, or even those who have “been there, done that” who can revisit their Year 15 journey by sharing lessons learned with their peers. There will be an overview of current experiences and outcomes from across the nation provided by a developer, a syndicator and an attorney with a variety of Y15 involvement to share about recapitalized and/or repurposed year 15 properties. The panel will also delve into small “p” preservation priorities and what we are collectively doing about the aging portfolio.

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Community Land Trusts- An Equitable and Sustainable Strategy
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What exactly is a Community Land Trust (CLT)?  A CLT is an effective, community-based strategy to preserve housing affordability in expensive markets and to prevent the displacement of lower-income residents that is an all-too-frequent outcome of successful neighborhood revitalization.  CLT’s are also effective at preserving community access to commercial properties and – you guessed it – land for urban farming and gardening in neighborhoods and communities across the country.

Members of a committee formed to explore the potential of establishing and operating a CLT strategy in Pittsburgh – and the consultant working with them – will explain CLTs, their structure and requirements, and provide examples of how CLTs are utilized to support and care for the land they own, the buildings and other community uses located on this land, and the owners, occupants, and users of these properties – all for a very long time.

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Brick + Books
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One of the most important quality of life concerns we all contemplate is the state of our children’s education system. The symbiotic relationship between schools and the surrounding neighborhoods is integral to the overall health of a community. However, with budgetary shortfalls, staggering property values, and political influence, what can community organizations and leaders really do about it?The session will explore placed based strategies that are genuinely supporting a local school district. PEP Rally is a program in partnership with Lawrenceville United, a community based organization in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, and A+ Schools, the community advocate and leader for educational equity and excellence in Pittsburgh Public Schools. Pep Rally aims to rally parents and community partners to support and strengthen the neighborhood’s public schools. They do this by engaging and empowering parents to be agents of positive change and by creating partnerships to fuel community-supported initiatives.Participants will come away with not just an understanding of how the model works, but with practical ideas for how PEP Rally can be replicated in other communities.Presenters:

Transformative Transitways from the Twin Cities to Pittsburgh

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Hennepin County, located in the heart of the Twin Cities, is taking a bold approach to coordinating public investments in corridor-scale infrastructure, natural systems, and redevelopment.  The approach, called Community Works, has leveraged Hennepin County’s $93 million of capital funding over the past 20 years into more than $883 million in public and private investment!A hallmark Community Works initiative is the redevelopment of the Midtown Greenway.  This transformation of an abandoned  urban freight rail line into what was dubbed by USA Today as the #1 urban bike path in 2013, has brought with it hundreds of millions of dollars in redevelopment.

In Pittsburgh, EastSide III, East Liberty’s Transit Center, is helping the neighborhood “regain its place as a vital artery in the body of the city”, according to panelist Mark Minnerly.  The six acre project will reconnect East Liberty with its surrounding neighborhoods and consists of three separately-owned and -financed pieces: mixed-use retail and residential construction; creation of shared infrastructure, such as public plazas that access the transit station; and a revamped East Liberty busway station. In addition to state and federal funding, monies obtained through Pennsylvania’s Transit Revitalization Investment District program (TRID) made it possible to rework the stop into a multi-modal transit hub.

Ongoing community and economic development efforts that are focused on transit oriented development along light rail and bus rapid transit corridors make sense. This panel of experts will engage in a candid and interactive session on why and how these approaches are working across the country.

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Rasquachification, The Arts and Placekeeping
PresentationRecently, the arts and culture sector nationwide, including public and private funders, has been intensely engaged in creative placemaking. But too often these efforts have involved importing cultural providers and new “creatives” that are disconnected from the cultural assets and sense of belonging among current residents. Such initiatives lack spatial justice and can lead to a strong sense of dis-belonging. We also have existing challenges in the areas of racial equity, economic inequality, and resident displacement.This panel will explore how artists, cultural organizations, and the creative resilience of communities of color (exemplified by the practice of Rasquachification), can advance “placekeeping” and social justice in our neighborhoods.Citing local examples of placekeeping and spatial justice, the discussion will address the roles of arts and culture in Rasquachification and what will be needed in the future from all sectors to advance placekeeping, spatial justice, and a sense of belonging in our communities.

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Resourceful Financing Partnerships for Today!

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Gain insight on where to find resources and how to leverage alternate capital. Industry professionals will discuss several economic and community development financing mechanisms. Particular focus will be on how to create a complete capital stack thorough partnerships with vested organizations that share in similar development objectives. The panel members will share various experiences financing challenging projects where partnerships and multiple capital resources were required. This will be an interactive session that encourages audience discussion on how to finance active projects.

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