Want $50K for your neighborhood?

A community improvement organization has found a way to engage multiple neighborhoods in a challenge to reduce solid waste.  As published in Seattle’s Daily Journal of Commerce (DJC)  2/12, the winning neighborhood will receive $50K for a community capital project.

This example is intriguing on a number of levels. In 2011/2012 it reduced household solid waste by 2% in the winning neighborhoods with even greater combined savings across participating counties. It engaged community members within a given to community and awarded good thinking and demonstrated results across the broader community.

This is a great example of aligning the appropriate people and approach to drive results. As communities look to modify consumption and waste behavior, responsibility is shared by the general public, government, non-profits, and for-profit firms. Alignment between each of these is key in driving successful outcomes.

CleanScapes is a great example of non-profits and the public partnering.  While appreciating this I am intrigued by the opportunity for government to support smaller size community level projects developed and initiated at the local level by people and organizations. Such projects could be nurtured through an open budget “market”.  I imagine this approach could allow neighborhoods best serve their unique needs compared with a one size fits all solution. This would drive savings as inefficient projects are not taken on.

These communities will experiment and innovate. For particularly scalable solutions the government could help facilitate a wider publicly funded rollout, engaging leaders from each community, to figure out how to implement on broader cross neighborhood basis. 

Thinking back to recent lectures, if this was taken to the next level communities might come up with better park designs that make people eager to visit and get behind (Shout-out to #FremontPeakPark).

Learn more at www.cleanscapes.com/seattle

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