BY TAYLOR BENNETT, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT POLICY COORDINATOR, THE HUB
We know that local policy changes can move the needle in a big way as we work to build stronger communities and economies. Often, though, it can be a challenge to know how to go about making that change happen.
We also know that young people have a huge role to play as we craft strong, vibrant communities and economies that work for everyone.
How do we make change in a way that will support creating attractive communities for young people? The Hub is teaming up with Generation WV on the Next Generation Communities Project to tackle these challenges in collaboration with West Virginian communities.
This project will support West Virginian teams as they identify the changes they want to make, build the relationships that they’ll need to succeed, and create a strategy that will help guide them through each step of the change-making process.
How does it work?
- Generation WV and The Hub are taking a look at research from across the country. Working with research partners including West Virginia Forward, we’re identifying themes from existing studies – from both in-state and across the country – to help us identify key community characteristics that drive the decisions that young people make about where to live, work, and build a community. Community characteristics could be things like jobs, community health, social activities, or arts and culture.
- We’ll bring these key community characteristics to participating community teams, where we’ll work out a strategy to get feedback from community members about which areas make the most sense to focus on.
- Then, we’ll work with the team to identify specific changes that can be made which will strengthen the area that the community identified. (For example, the community identifies that they wanted to focus on community health. A specific change that might be made could be for the municipal government to allocate space for a community garden.)
- Once the team has selected a specific change, we’ll work together to create a strategy and build the relationships to make that change happen. And when it does, we’ll celebrate our collective victory.
Right now, team members from Generation WV and The Hub are touring around the state, providing in-depth information to community teams who would like to participate, and working to identify the key community characteristics that teams will need to get started.
Are you interested in being a part of the Next Generation Communities Project? Connect with me, Taylor Bennett, at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.