“Be the change you want to see in the world.” - Gandhi

The Difference Between Quality of Life Planning vs. the Quality of Life Process


The LISC/Greater Indianapolis Neighborhood Initiative created a thoughtful, intentional and effective process for helping neighborhoods create Quality of Life Plans. However, the five pilot neighborhoods have all struggled with how to sustain these efforts, make the Quality of Life plan dynamic and organic, develop a process to revise the plan and create welcoming mechanisms for new residents to engage with the plan.

Quality of Life planning involves the creation of a plan that represents the concerns, issues and efforts of a specific neighborhood at a specific point in time. Within weeks of the completion of such a plan, some of its parts will become obsolete and inaccurate. Other parts of the plan will be completed successfully. Within months, new concerns, issues and projects may develop that are not in the plan.

In addition, the people who create a Quality of Life plan represent the neighborhood at a specific point of time. Within months, people will disengage and/or move away. Others will move in and seek to engage. How do new people interact with a plan they did not create/own?

Key Questions for a Sustainable Quality of Life Process   The following questions are vital to the development of a sustainable process for maintaining, revising and supporting a Quality of Life Plan:

  1. How do residents and stakeholders access the Quality of Life Plan to view its goals, monitor progress and view success?  IS THE PLAN VISIBLE?
  2. How does a new idea, concern or issue become incorporated into the Quality of Life Plan? IS THE PLAN FLEXIBLE?
    1. is this an easy process?
    2. How do people know about this process?
    3. Who are the gatekeepers?
    4. How and where is the decision made to add new language?
  3. How does a new project gain corporate support in the Quality of Life Plan? IS THE PLAN RESPONSIVE?
    1. (See questions above)
  4. How does a new person engage the Quality of Life Plan and participate in implementation? IS THE PLAN WELCOMING?
    1. Is this an easy process?
    2. How do people know about this process?
    3. Who are the gatekeepers?
    4. How and where do new people participate?
  5. How does the process handle a failure? IS THE PLAN HONEST?
    1. When is a goal a failure?
    2. Who decides to remove it from the plan?
  6. How does the process handle a stakeholder or resident- who has taken responsibility for a goal- and who has disengaged? IS THE PLAN TRANSFERABLE?
    1. When does inaction become disengagement?
    2. Who monitors inaction?
    3. How is a group or individual replaced?


QOL Resources

Capraro Quality of Life Plan Video


Review the third video on the top row entitled GSDC, Quality of Life Plan. It discusses how a group of neighborhoods in Chicago came together to help transform their community.

Community Toolbox – Bringing Solutions to Light


The Community Tool Box is a global resource for free information on essential skills for building healthy communities. It offers more than 7,000 pages of practical guidance in creating change and improvement.
LISC Chicago’s New Communities Program


Provides a variety of perspectives on how Quality of Life Plans have been approached by neighborhoods in the City of Chicago. Includes examples of plans that have been re-evaluated and updated over time.

Resources About Community Renewal

Community Building Through the Arts


Community Building Through the Arts
A look at the various ways in which the arts have impacted the community development process. Offers a peak into various approaches taken by diverse communities across cities and communities.
Purdue University Calumet – Building Community Through the Arts

Kresege Foundation Creative Placemaking Grants

Great Indy Neighborhoods Guide to How to Create a Great Neighborhood

Tactical Urbanism 2

Small scale and/or short term projects that have high impact in our neighborhoods. Tactical Urbanism 2 is a guide that provides a variety of approaches taken by everyday people from across the country to rethink and redefine how we live, work and connect to each other and our community.


• Living Walls Street Work

Living Walls: Street artists battle blight

Asset Based Community Development Institute


Building community capacity is at the heart of ABCD’s work. ABCD engages directly with community groups to support their asset-based community development efforts. The Institute and its affiliated faculty also participate in an array of local, regional, and international conferences and workshops as keynote speakers, workshop and training facilitators, technical support providers, and learning participants. Using a community-based participatory research approach, ABCD partners with community residents and other local entities to conduct research that helps prepare them to achieve their own community building objectives. ABCD also works with community groups, non-profits, and an array of other institutions to evaluate asset-based community development projects.
Collective Leadership Institute


The Collective Leadership Institute (CLI) stands for sustainable acting, thinking, communicating and leading. As an internationally operating non-profit organization we have offices in Germany (Potsdam) and South Africa (Cape Town). The CLI was founded 2005 and is an independent initiative globally enhancing peoples' competence to successfully engage in result-oriented dialogue and collaboration for sustainable development.
Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center


The Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center (INRC) is a private non-profit organization established in 1994 to provide the information and assistance to neighborhood organizations so they can set their own priorities and effectively address the issues affecting the quality of life in their neighborhoods. INRC works directly with neighborhood-based organizations throughout Marion County, including neighborhood associations, homeowners’ associations, community development corporations, churches, and other not-for-profit groups.
Purdue Extension Program Marion County Office – Economic and Community Development Office


Is to be the premier source of high quality educational tools and resources that can be used to increase public engagement and leadership capacity building for youth and adults in Marion County. We will achieve this goal by working in partnership with citizens to develop their leadership skills and support active participation in setting their own goals and implement a vision for their neighborhoods and communities.

Partnership for Sustainable Communities

Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space


Here find interesting articles that will allow us to explore issues in our community that impact how we think about the future we want to create. These are articles that I have gathered and others have shared. Again, these will eventually be housed on a blog or website. You may not agree with everything you read, but the purpose is to get us to think deeply about our space and place.

Videos to Think About in Our Community

Ron Finely: A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA

Bryan Stevenson: We Need to Talk About an Injustice

Bill Strickland: Rebuilding a Neighborhood with Beauty, Dignity and Hope



“Detroit's story has encapsulated the iconic narrative of America over the last century— the Great Migration of African Americans escaping Jim Crow; the rise of manufacturing and the middle class; the love affair with automobiles; the flowering of the American dream; and now . . . the collapse of the economy and the fading American mythos. With its vivid, painterly palette and haunting score, DETROPIA sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance. Their grit and pluck embody the spirit of the Motor City as it struggles to survive postindustrial America and begins to envision a radically different future. “

- by Caroline Libresco

Pruitt-Iego Myth


“Destroyed in a dramatic and highly-publicized implosion, the Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex has become a widespread symbol of failure amongst architects, politicians and policy makers. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth explores the social, economic and legislative issues that led to the decline of conventional public housing in America, and the city centers in which they resided, while tracing the personal and poignant narratives of several of the project's residents. In the post-War years, the American city changed in ways that made it unrecognizable from a generation earlier, privileging some and leaving others in its wake.”

Favela Rising


“FAVELA RISING documents a man and a movement, a city divided and a favela (Brazilian squatter settlement) united. Haunted by the murders of his family and many of his friends, Anderson Sá is a former drug-trafficker who turns social revolutionary in Rio de Janeiro’s most feared slum. Through hip-hop music, the rhythms of the street, and Afro-Brazilian dance he rallies his community to counteract the violent oppression enforced by teenage drug armies and sustained by corrupt police. At the dawn of liberation, just as collective mobility is overcoming all odds and Anderson’s grassroots Afro Reggae movement is at the height of its success, a tragic accident threatens to silence the movement forever.”


  • Comeback Cities: A Blueprint For Urban Neighborhood Revival Paperback by Paul Grogan and Tony Proscio
  • Collaborative Leadership: How Citizens and Civic Leaders Can Make a Difference, by David Chrislip
  • The Collaborative Leadership Fieldbook, by David D. Chrislip
  • The Little Book of Dialogue for Difficult Subjects: A Practical, Hands-On Guide (The Little Books of Justice & Peacebuilding) by Lisa Schirch and David Campt
  • Creative Community Builder’sHandbook, by Tom Borrup
  • The Rise of the Creative Class—Revisited, by Richard Florida
  • Collaborative Grantseeking : A Guide to Designing Projects, Leading Partners, and Persuading Sponsors by Jeremy T. Miner, Lynn E. Miner, and Jerry Griffith
  • Grant Writing For Dummies by Beverly A. Browning