Community of Allies if not us, who? if not now when?  

An Appreciative Inquiry Into
Generative Community-Building Initiatives
Tad Veltrop—Advance Scout—

Personal Context: For almost a decade I have worked with children from traumatic family backgrounds. I have seen how families have struggled with substance abuse, mental illness, poverty and the resulting cycles of welfare dependence and crime that plague inner cities. Completing a Masters program in public administration helped me to see the many pieces that must go into reinventing the future. My connection with children and strong interest in seeing the Bay Area evolve in a just and sustainable fashion (i.e. one that provides all its citizens with opportunities to flourish within a healthy environment), has led me to undertake this exciting project.

Approaches to neighborhood and community development tend to be "generative" to the degree that they are —
  • Self-sustaining: Attracting and generating the resources they need on an on-going basis.
  • Self-regulating: They have developed the capacity to manage their ongoing operations.
  • Self-improving: They have feedback loops in place that ensure that relevant stakeholder groups are able to contribute to the effectiveness of the initiative.
  • Self-propagating: Their strategies and/or supporting infrastructure are so elegant that it is copied in other locations and other types of applications.
  • Self-evolving: They use mechanisms that help ensure that fresh strategic and design thinking is periodically brought to bear in a way that opens up unforeseen opportunities and benefits.
  • Energizing and life affirming: Those involved with this initiative are having fun. They are growing and evolving as a consequence of their involvement.
  • Value-adding from all perspectives — socially, environmentally and economically.
  • Highly leveraged: Ultra-high true benefit/true cost ratio.
Purpose: This project, sponsored by, is intended accelerate the evolution of community development initiatives in the Bay Area and beyond.