Podcast: Valparaiso neighborhood survey- we want your input! With Thais Carter

Jesse-Pifer neighborhood members plant trees

ValpoNEXT Sense of Place Community Action Committee leader Thais Carter wants to learn what residents think is important about building community in neighborhoods. In this episode she speaks with ValpoNEXT coordinator, Kathy Sipple, about the new survey created by Carley Lemmon, Assistant Planner for the City of Valparaiso.

This survey is a tool to help capture the variety of neighborhood activities present in Valparaiso, as well as determine ways to measure this engagement. The Sense of Place initiative is tied to these actions, focusing on measures to name and brand neighborhoods as well as developing a “Love your Neighborhood” program. Carter then discusses a potential city-wide block party, and explains how this communication and connection between neighbors is an extension of civic engagement.

Valparaiso residents are invited to share their ideas using this link. << CLICK HERE >>

Transcript Notes

  • Valparaiso has strong neighborhood identities, especially in historic and older neighborhoods.
  • Creating a survey asking residents about the people and places that resonate in their neighborhoods and how they participate.
    • Learn about the different things each neighborhood is active in.
    • Create indicators to develop a neighborhood toolkit
  • Sense of Place Initiative
    • Naming and branding neighborhoods.
    • Developing a “Love your Neighborhood” program.
  • No matter where you live in the city, your neighborhood’s sense of place matters, too.
  • Survey was created by Carley Lemmon, a Ball State graduate who has returned to Valpo in order to give back to her home.
  • Trying to create a community-wide block party.
    • Jesse-Pifer/Memorial neighborhood is an example of a neighborhood that is already throwing block parties.
    • Create a template for a city-wide block party in partnership with the Park’s department.
    • Take place at 5 parks throughout the city at the same time with food, music, and activities.
    • Celebrate what it means to be a neighbor in Valparaiso.
    • Build strong connections as neighbors and fellow citizens.
  • Civic engagement
    • Voting, showing up to meetings, etc.
    • ALSO learning to know your neighbors.
  • ValpoNEXT Twitter

Getting Involved!

ValpoNEXT at American Planning Association National Conference

Tyler Kent, Valparaiso Planning Director, and Jamie Greene, AIA, FAICP, Principal at Planning Next, presented at the American Planning Association’s National Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on April 2-5, 2016. The session, titled Unintimidated: Small Towns, Big Results, highlights the award winning planning effort behind ValpoNEXT and One City, One Vision Strategic Plan (Anniston, Alabama). The work behind these plans certainly does not end when the document is printed.

The panelists discussed how small communities can tackle great odds to manage outstanding planning processes through strong leadership, a focus on quality of place, and innovative approaches to engagement that generate emotional attachment. The presentation described how the City of Valparaiso is confronted with obstacles and challenges, communities can go with the trends and accept the status quo or take action to inspire change. The choice to be proactive has led to outstanding planning processes, surpassing expectations and resulting in significant implementation and high returns on investment.

Tyler and Jamie spoke to several hundred fellow planners about the ValpoNEXT process which included a nurturing and strong leadership to facilitate a bold vision, emphasis on creating quality of place to attract investment, and public emotional attachment through innovative approaches to public engagement. The City persevered and built momentum throughout the process, challenging the perceived limits of what smaller communities can do to take charge of their futures.