Collaboration is Key to Housing Success

Des Moines neighborhood sees results

Collaboration is Key to Housing Success

As we cruise along on the PCHTF tour bus, it immediately becomes clear how Des Moines' central neighborhoods have been making their comeback:  Collaboration.  The microphone passes seamlessly from PCHTF to nonprofit partners to private sponsors to city and county representatives, as they each add their part in a shared story of revitalization in a section of the Drake neighborhood.  The efforts of these groups revolve around a simple but critical principle; our efforts are all more effective when they are coordinated and concentrated in strategic areas. 

Des Moines housing revitalization demonstrates an impressive level of collaboration between residents and public, private and non-profit organizations.  Neighborhoods are selected every couple of years for targeted public investment and planning through the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP), and PCTHF and other nonprofit partners concentrate efforts in those neighborhoods too.  By focusing investments in strategic areas, and harnessing the vision of residents and the sweat of countless volunteers, neighborhoods can see visible and meaningful change.  

Housing revitalization in Des Moines is unique in its level of coordination, yet the problems it addresses are universal.  As a community planning consultant, I work with small towns across the midwest who face similar challenges on a different scale.  One of my colleagues was involved in establishing the NRP, and we now use Des Moines' programs as examples of "best practices" for stabilizing central neighborhoods, encouraging other towns to adapt those collaborative strategies to their own situation.  The successful projects I saw on the bus tour were an exciting reminder of why we encourage collaboration so strongly.  Even more importantly, the tour further encourages collaboration by educating a wide variety of community leaders on the importance of investing in quality housing for everyone.

Next Bus Tour: July 20 register HERE

Lorin Ditzler is a Community Planner with RDG Planning & Design in Des Moines