Grab a seat at the roundtable.

What are the building blocks of community change? Peter Block argues that the answer is small-scale, informal, and personal resident engagement: the roundtable.

The Grounded Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Liaisons have been putting this idea to the test while reading Block’s work CommunityThe Structure of Belonging. Each month, we meet to discuss project activities as well as to take part in a group discussion about the best ways to increase resident involvement and buy-in, essential ingredients for community health and sustainability.

Roundtable Notes

Last month, the discussion topic stemmed from Block’s discussion on the definition of citizenship. In his eyes, citizens distinguish themselves from consumers by taking responsibility for those around them, by utilizing their own power to influence change rather than deferring to partisan political interests, and by identifying how the skills and passions of their neighbors can be used for the community good.

Here are a few takeaways from our Liaison’s views on citizenship:

  • Being a good citizen depends on the ability to be accountable to yourself and the community.
  • Citizens represent both people and place.
  • Understanding the history, heritage, and memory of a place is key to creating good citizens.
  • It is important to value and celebrate the talents of residents and to show them that their gifts can make a difference.
  • Being a citizen is a long-term commitment. Communities must have a plan to sustain resident buy-in over time.
  • Open forums are the beacons of community citizenship. Institutions and public spaces like schools and churches can provide this forum.

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