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  • Erik Tilkemeier

    Great initiative and effort, Mallory! You might be interested in this project that the Colorado Health Foundation is sponsoring:

    One of the keys to empowering communities is to first understand the community and the issues they face. Engaging in the informal systems, like you did with fellow parents to realize the desire for alternative education, is the most effective way to identify issues and mobilize change. Here is an effective way to "learn" community:

    Keep up your GOOD work!

    • Mallory Baches

      Thanks, Erik. That partnership between the ULI and the Colorado Health Foundation is interesting, in how it connected experts directly with citizens in the 3 communities. I'm curious about whether the communities will have ongoing access to the panelists, should they be granting funding for implementation. One of the obstacles to meaningful systemic community change is often that excellent expert recommendations do not come with follow-up service or "user guide" level of support, and citizens or municipalities are left essentially guessing at intent. The classic "give a man a fish/teach a man to fish" maxim often applies.

      • Erik Tilkemeier


        I have a call scheduled with the CHF's Healthy Places Program Manager on Tuesday to learn more about their implementation process. I agree that lack of ongoing involvement by outside "experts" is a common flaw in many change initiatives. That is why we advocate bottom up processes. After all, the residents are the real experts about their communities, and must be vested in the process in order for it to be sustainable.

        • Mallory Baches

          Completely agree, and I'm interested to hear more about the program and if/how they are continuing the involvement!

  • Alex Plott

    Great article! A group I'm with at Baylor University is focused on citizenship and what it means to be a citizen locally, nationally, and globally. This will definitely help us in discovering how to take action in the community of Waco.

    • Mallory Baches

      Thank you, Alex! I'd love to know more about the work that your group is doing, and I especially appreciate the exploration of scale in civic participation. I think that understanding the relative impact is something that can play a powerful role in encouraging citizens to get involved at every level.

  • Vanessa Kachadurian

    Great ideas. Bottom line children thrive when their parents play an active role in their education.

    • Mallory Baches

      Thanks, Vanessa! I couldn't agree more.

  • Patrick McDonnell

    BIG SHOUT OUT Mallory for co-founding a charter school, and creating a social incubation center in your community. Wow!

    Thanks for pushing the urban design community forward and creating a platform where people can get feedback on their community problems.

    • Mallory Baches

      Many thanks for your support, Patrick!

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      Can't wait to see what other projects Mallory has up her sleeve! Mallory- any plans to expand this outside your community?

      • Mallory Baches

        Absolutely, Alessandra! In fact, we primarily work outside the Lowcountry (where we are based) and are always looking for new areas to serve. We hope that expanding our How? page based on the responses we receive will offer some entry-level assistance to folks and also begin a broader conversation about how they can be empowered to create change in their community!