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Arkansas Student

Community Development in AR

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Hello all,

I'm new to the board, but I've got a few posts out there. I looked back in previous threads and couldn't find one that specifically delt with the topic of Community Development in AR. I'm interested in this from both an academic and practical perspective.

I'd like to collect thoughts about community development in AR in to one thread. I'll throw a couple of questions out to start:

1.) Any professionals out there working in community development? What is the career like? What challenges are you facing? In what direction do you see the field going in the future? What successes have you had?

2.) Are there any good books about community/economic development anyone would like to recommend?

3.) As someone who is interested in this as a career, does anyone know what kind of career options are available in AR?

4.) How would you personally define community development, and what does it mean in AR?

Hopefully this gets some folks wheels turning. I'm looking forward to the responses!

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I've often wondered what the heck "community development" is supposed to be. It varies pretty widely around the state. Sometimes is simply limited to CDBG - grants for community improvements apart from a lot of traditional infrastructure like sewer and roads. Some use it as an all encompassing moniker for permits, code enforcement, building inspection, and planning. Some think of it just as planning and even some chambers of commerce feel they are in the business of community development. I really don't know where you draw the line on the scope.

I like planning so I can recommend a good book for understanding planning. What Planners Do? by Charles Hoch - I've met the man, he is a professor and Illinois-Chicago. He's an alright person he was nice enough to make time for me and tell me about the planning program at UIC. The book is really helpful and gives a pretty clear picture of what it means to be a planner.

There are jobs to be had at most levels of government. Municipal is the most common. There are also a lot of agencies to work for. I'm not really sure what's available at the state level.

What are you interested in particular? Urban Planning maybe?

Economic development is somewhat a different animal. Different players at least.

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I forgot to respond to this earlier. I was wanting to hear a little more on what you meant by community developments as well. I'm not clear on what exactly you're referring to.

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What are you interested in particular? Urban Planning maybe?

Economic development is somewhat a different animal. Different players at least.

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Honestly, I've always hated the term. That's probably because in the town I grew up in, being CD director meant being the mayor's bud. I always love to hear my dad talk about one of the former directors. "We paid to send him to all that training at UCA and he left to go work at the Rib Crib."

Being planning-centric I've always viewed it as a subfield of planning, which is ultimately a subfield of geography - which just so happens to be the best field of study known to man.

I strongly support CDBG which yet another reason to dislike Mr. Bush. I believe the feds have a role in helping support communities to find money for worthwhile projects. I wish there were more state laws forcing planning to occur at the local level. That may be more selfish as much as anything, more jorb opportunities. I really do believe in planning though.

Side note: I'm not really all that interested in CD outside the planning aspects.

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"We paid to send him to all that training at UCA and he left to go work at the Rib Crib."

Being planning-centric I've always viewed it as a subfield of planning, which is ultimately a subfield of geography - which just so happens to be the best field of study known to man.

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On one hand I can see how CD is a subfield of planning, but on the other it seems planning should be a subfield of CD. Again, refer to my previous interests.

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I'm taking a class in Community Development @ the UA as a part of my master's program. So far, the only thing I've learned is that no one can really agree on wht the definition of community development is. We talk about the difference between Communities of Interest (like, the gay community, the internet as a community, religious communities) and Communities of Geography (easy to figure out).

We're also reading some interesting texts, which I'll post about as I finish reading them. If anyone wants to know what they are, I can post them. I just don't have the books in front of me right now.

There's a lot of international students in the class, and 20 out of 25 students are PhD candidates (which means people tend to be long-winded and sometimes stray from the subject ;)

We talk about economic development as a component of community development, and I'm really starting to see how it fits but how ED alone is not the answer. Thoughts?

Here's a link to a pdf you all might be interested in: http://plsc.uark.edu/CDSyllabus/building_blocks.pdf It's by the MDC out of North Carolina, an ED corporation that is focused primarily on the South.

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Its nice to have projects that bring in lots of jobs. Its nice to attract business, but what if you are attracting development that will ultimately hurt the community in end. It provides an economic boost but degrades the long term quality of the community. You see all these communities clamoring to attract these big box developments and I begin to wonder about the balance of economic impact versus long term costs and problems the development causes for a community. Is that big box going to be there in 30 years, what will happen to the surrounding community? Is that cheap building going to be maintained properly? How many times have you seen an old empty former Wal-mart? The area around seems to die a little and usually the building if it re-occupied, its by a business that will never need all the parking that Wal-mart or whomever built. Sorry I'm training it into a planning discussion.

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I think you make a good point hogwash. Economic development is community development, but at what cost? I've seen a lot of vacant Wal-Mart buildings all across the country; very seldom does a new business move in and flourish. I've often thought that if I could figure out something to do with old Wal-Marts I would be set for life.

But it's true -- what's the guarantee that these cheaply & quickly built big box stores will last 30 years? If they don't, what happens when they leave the economy? A huge vacant storefront and a serious loss of jobs & tax revenue are all that remains. National chains are not grounded in the community like locally-owned stores. They do not invest as much in the community (over a period of time), and the security of their existence is arguably not as good. Local buisnesses may change hands or get passed down through generations, but they always remain local and will thrive if providing a necessary community service.

It's difficult at best to get elected officals to think about economic development in 20 or 30 year increments. Most are concerned with the immediate (or nearly immediate) impact. Yet, these national firms go bankrupt all the time. What is there to say that Wal-Mart is truly more solvent than the local mom-and-pop merchantile?

ED means an even-handed cultivation of locally owned and operated businesses that are tied to an area with larger regional/national chains to supplement the economic and provisionary gaps. This is probably more true in rural communities, who need to develop a self-sufficient economic model so as to lessen the impact of the inevitable departure of a national chain store.

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Where did you get your MCRP or Uban planning Masters at ArkansasStudent?

I am looking at schools to attend right now for next year as i plan to be a "planner". anyway this is the first time i have replied to anything on here and i just wanted to say that i enjoy reading everyone's posts and hopefully in the future i will become more comfortable in posting my opinions here.

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Jump on in, everybody's voice is welcome! What schools are you looking? I am also wanting to pursue a master's in planning at some point. I am really interested in Kansas and Georgia Tech. I majored in geography and I'd really like to specialize in land-use and transportation to utilize in long range planning one day. They say you should find a program in an area that you may be comfortable working in for a few years. If you're from Arkansas there are several schools in the South you can attend and receive in-state tuition through the academic common market. Georgia Tech is one of those schools, and their in-state tuition happens to be cheaper than UA's tuition in-state.

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I am mainly looking at Memphis and UT-Arlington and possibly Florida. I'm looking at doing a dual-degree and UT-Arlington looks to be the best at that so far with a MCRP and a Masters in Urban Affairs. If you have any info on the two schools your looking at I would appreciate that very much. My bachelors is in marketing and im mainly interested in economic development and land use. Anyway my goal is to eventually own my own development company ala "Barber" but thats a long time from now.

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Guide to Planning Schools

Memphis is one of the schools where Arkansas students qualify for in-state. I don't really know much about their program.

That sounds really cool. That guide has a listing of all the programs specializations, but I don't think its completely accurate/comprehensive.

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Where did you get your MCRP or Uban planning Masters at ArkansasStudent?

I am looking at schools to attend right now for next year as i plan to be a "planner". anyway this is the first time i have replied to anything on here and i just wanted to say that i enjoy reading everyone's posts and hopefully in the future i will become more comfortable in posting my opinions here.

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What enabled you to get a job with Rogers. just a bachelors? and what type of projects are you getting to work on?

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What enabled you to get a job with Rogers. just a bachelors? and what type of projects are you getting to work on?

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I was recently outraged to find out that Arkansas law specifically bans municipalities from setting up their own broadband networks (wired or wireless)!!! HB 2817, passed in 2003, is the culprit. There are currently 11 other states that have similar laws, but none of the states surrounding Arkansas have such a crazy law.

This site, http://www.freepress.net/communityinternet/networks.php , shows a map of current municipal broadband project. Even MISSISSIPPI has several!!! (kudos to them).

Okay, this flies in the face of community/economic development, in my opinion. If you haven't, download and read the 5ways.pdf in my earlier post.

GAH!!! :angry::angry::dunno::dunno:

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