The vision for the initiative is that by systematically encouraging positive neighborhood-directed investment – both physical and social investment - more and more of Batavia's neighborhoods will successfully compete to attract and retain neighbors able and willing to invest time, effort and money where they live.
The Vibrant Neighborhoods Initiative will realize this vision by making available:
- Training and technical assistance to selected neighborhoods
- Implementation of neighborhood branding and marketing
- Neighborhood projects to build pride and social connections
- Outreach tailored to the neighborhood's needs
- Linkages to resources
The program and its resource commitments are intended to demonstrate the potential of this approach to expand and reinvigorate neighborhood involvement and owner investment. Some of the specific approaches include:
- Expanding neighborhood pride and neighborliness through involvement of residents in neighborhood promotion and pride projects they organize
- Branding and marketing of neighborhoods to build on their strengths and unique assets
- Encouraging home improvements and exterior upgrading by current residents
- Attracting new buyers willing to invest in standard setting renovations and promoting home ownership in the neighborhood
- Marketing these changes to current and potential owners, stimulating additional home improvements and renovations and positive investments in the neighborhood
- Engaging residents in a manner that they build a sense of pride in their neighborhood and in the greater community
Through this effort we want to demonstrate how to proactively keep our healthy neighborhoods vibrant and to strengthen and stabilize neighborhoods where pride and confidence are beginning to slip.
Due to the scale of resources available, these strategies work best in neighborhoods with no or very little vacant housing, relatively stable real estate values with potential for an increase, active resident involvement and a workable set of target blocks with strong anchors. Effort will need to be focused where there is greatest opportunity for stabilization, so selecting a doable area where the impact is apparent and will leverage other investments is important. As the program expands it is important to work on adjacent streets to the initial geography in order to develop critical mass in the initiative.
Goals and Anticipated Outcomes
This effort is designed to show that the right incentives coupled with innovative marketing and outreach programs, will give confidence to current homeowners to invest in their homes and neighborhood, and to potential residents to buy, improve, and become involved in the neighborhood. This Vibrant Neighborhoods effort will demonstrate that working together we can strengthen how people invest their resources and themselves in their communities.
Even though this approach has been used in other cities, every community is different. So ultimately, this is an experiment. Innovation and risk taking will be hallmarks of the program. Nevertheless we can envision some of the outcomes. We expect projects to show that neighbors can change their sense of confidence, their perceptions, and thereby, their behaviors in their communities. We believe that these changes can be infectious. Just as the negative impact of disinvestments of resources and human energy can quickly undermine a community, we believe that the positive effects of Vibrant Neighborhoods changes can rapidly expand into neighborhood renewal. Measures of success will not be the number of units produced. Rather the true benchmark will be whether or not Batavia’s neighborhoods will develop identities, pride, and an improved perception. If we are successful the neighborhoods will become communities of choice which are able to retain and attract the households needed in a dynamic, competitive environment.
Examples of Strategies in Action
- Neighborhood activities that allow neighbors to get to know each other with the long term goal of changing the ways that people manage the everyday issues of their communities
- Community self-help and improvement projects to promote visible physical improvements while strengthening cooperation and positive neighborhood images
- Branding and marketing efforts to build unique neighborhood identities
- If applicable, arranging group purchasing opportunities to save on the cost of repairs by negotiating a “volume” discount on multiple projects with free project management support
- Developing resident leadership to support and sustain positive changes in the neighborhoods