We do this by:
Convening people to identify and work toward shared priorities: Catalyst builds local excitement and interest in waterfront parks, bringing together diverse stakeholders including youth, local residents, educators, community leaders, and business owners to exchange ideas and develop goals for the future of their parks and waterfronts. Through large community visioning workshops and small, facilitated meetings, local partners are encouraged to see how a unified effort can leverage substantially more resources than can individual efforts. Community meetings, information sharing, and coordinated activities help groups to identify shared goals and a group identity.
Facilitating collaboration through communication and problem-solving: Because the road to meaningful collaboration can be a long one, we support community efforts each step of the way. Catalyst forms and strengthens strategic partnerships with tools ranging from practical advice and information sharing to mediation and negotiation.
Linking grassroots efforts to funding resources and decision-making opportunities: As partners come together, Catalyst facilitates their access to and participation in parks decision-making. Support can often be as basic as sharing deadlines and making first introductions to agency staff. In other cases, we provide focused opportunities for community partners to actively influence planning for their parks by inviting agency representatives to community meetings, collecting and broadcasting studies, and promoting public forums. Catalyst also provides training on working with elected officials and understanding the City budget process. Catalyst helps our partners increase their familiarity, confidence, and capacity to be advocates for their parks and waterfronts.
Facilitating community visioning: Catalyst supports community partners to facilitate a process of community visioning about the future of the area parks and waterfront. So often the future of a community is shaped by outside interests. Catalyst strives to create the conditions for a type of visioning where community members are more than just participants—they are leaders and facilitators of the process. Catalyst undertook community visioning because we have seen that when residents come together to visualize and articulate the future they want for their neighborhood, they are more likely to take ownership of this future and to work towards community change. We believe that empowering community leaders to engage their neighbors in imagining the future of their local green space inspires community investment in seeing this vision become a reality.
Understanding the past to determine the future. In order to undertake community visioning in each Catalyst site, it was important to understand the historical context and relevant issues of each neighborhood. Many factors shaped the visioning process, including the features of the local parks, the issues faced by that community’s green space, the partners involved, and the demographics of the neighborhood.
Be the Catalyst. Create a waterfront park vision. Ask your Catalyst Coordinator how you can get involved.