4 Factors for Success in Neighborhood Transformation Planning

A review of ICMA's participation in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Choice Neighborhoods progam.

BLOG POST | Feb 3, 2016

In 2010 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched its Choice Neighborhoods program as a means of redeveloping distressed public and assisted-housing communities. The goal of the program is to replace and/or add additional housing as well as to develop transformation plans that help create a supportive environment for residents. 

Transformation plans are more encompassing than traditional housing plans because transformation plans outline how to provide greater access and more economic opportunities for residents in distressed neighborhoods. A transformation plan focuses on three key areas: housing, people, and neighborhood.

ICMA Senior Project Manager Cory Fleming, with assistance from former ICMA Analyst Hannah Wolford and supported by HUD funding, conducted three case studies in neighborhoods participating in the Choice Neighborhood program: Salisbury, North Carolina; Suffolk, Virginia; and Norfolk, Virginia. Their findings identified the following 4 factors in achieving success in neighborhood transformation planning:

  1. Addressing economic and social needs of residents. Recognizing that neighborhoods are comprised of more than bricks and mortar, transformation plans include strategies for addressing education, health and human services, public safety, and other social services needed by residents.
  2. Generating excitement and enthusiasm from all stakeholders. The more excitement that can be generated about a transformation plan for a neighborhood, the easier it is to extend the network of stakeholder and partners who will invest in those plans.
  3. Identifying the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders. With so many stakeholders involved in the development of transformation plans, a discussion of roles and responsibilities at the outset of the planning process helps establish lines of accountability.
  4. Identifying and agreeing on what performance measures to use. In all three case study sites, surveys of residents living in the public housing complexes provided crucial information to understanding residents’ concerns and issues.

After developing a transformation plan, it’s equally critical to agree on measures of program success. This lets you see whether the plan is enabling you to meet the program’s goals. 

To learn more about transformation planning download Evaluating the Role of Local Government and Project Stakeholder Engagement in Choice Neighborhoods Transformation Planning and Implementation.


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