Tools and Targets: On the importance of Local Action

Back in late 2016, I decided to start taking local action to help bring about some positive change in my immediate community. 

As an architect and urbanist, I searched on the web for local groups and initiatives underway I could check out to see where I could contribute my time and energy most effectively. This is how I learned about the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) in Washington, D.C.  

My own local ANC 1C has a fantastic webpage and through it I found not just a calendar of meetings and events, but also a very special community-focused development plan that was generated in collaboration among the D.C. Office of Planning, Catholic University and a committed group of residents from my neighborhood.

Maintaining a local focus is everybody's job. The good folks at Habitat Network have an excellent post on the importance of local action, and every local actor's job description. And though the cliche has long been "think global, act local", also in 2016 the European Commission announced:

"2016 is a crucial year for development. Local governments will be essential to the achievement of the SDGs and will play an active role in the New Urban Agenda...Local and regional governments represent the closest institutions to the citizens and offer significant expertise in terms of service delivery, building democratic institutions and effective administrations."

The tools and targets for local action are available at all scales of impact and we are the necessary fuel to ignite these possibilities.

The collective actions of people across their communities is essential to sustaining impact and progressive change where we live, work and play. For me, the Adams Morgan Vision Framework (AMVF) plan, as it came to be called, is an impressive and inspiring steering instrument for catalyzing progress in our local community.

My contribution to this masterful project will be to raise awareness about the plan, re-energize the community's aspirations for the goals in the plan, and represent the plan's guidance at all of the ANC meetings where planning and economic development projects should consult this efficient framework.