"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Blights out

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: blightsout.org

Blights Out is a collaborative and creative initiative to unite residents, artists, architects, and organizers in the design of a new, inclusive model for development. Our experiential method of “performing architecture” guides us through the purchase, design, and restoration of a blighted structure into a cultural resource center that will seed creative action around issues of blight, disinvestment, and housing. Blights Out will partner with a local Community Land Trust as the cultural organizing arm of the permanently affordable housing movement to share the tools and inspiration for New Orleans residents to build the destinies of their own neighborhoods.

Our objectives are:

- To purchase and restore a blighted property in the Lower Mid-City/ Tremé neighborhood transforming it into functional “social sculpture”: a multipurpose community cultural resource center and socio- economic asset, which will serve at the “mothership” hub of Blights Out’s creative output.

- To align New Orleans’ traditional modes of cultural organizing with today’s most pressing concerns. We believe that the Social Aid nd Pleasure Club is a strong model that can be employed in new terrain. As such, we are using art tofacilitate civic engagement with blight, disinvestment, and housing through programming that draws on New Orleans’traditions of performance, storytelling, and community organizing.

- To partner with a local Community Land Trust (CLT)to organize educational materials and programming on alternative development models, including the CLT.

- To record, visualize, and amplify the history of the neighborhood.

- To document our process and present it as a replicable model for action through the publication of a toolkit that will consolidate scattered resources on housing, lending, and blight remediation in New Orleans, thus serving an unmet need identified at the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center 2015 Annual Fit for King Conference.

Blights Out produces public art inspired by neighborhood stories, architecture, and history, culled from the multi-disciplinary research and critical interactive strategies that we employ.

Blights Out is a collaborative process, involving residents, artists, architects, and organizers, at all stages of conception and implementation.

Our institutional partners include: the National Organization of Minority Architects; Press Street; Newcomb Art Museum at Tulane University; Junebug Productions; New Orleans Master Crafts Guild; Prospect New Orleans; Loyola Law School Human Rights Clinic; Creative Capital; Justice and Beyond Coalition and The St. Roch Community Church. Economic models and development schemes have been perfected by maximizing profit at the expense of people.” “The American Dream is an individual vision incompatible with collective needs.” “Artists will always hasten gentrification.” We intend to deconstruct these truisms and prove them false through the design of an actionable model for community-powered neighborhood development.

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