Kevin Wright and Joe Nickol have years of development experience under their belts from their years with the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation
, respectively. They decided to take that knowledge and create the Neighborhood Playbook
, a development tool for neighborhoods and cities, with funding help from People’s Liberty
The Neighborhood Playbook
“We saw through our work a common theme that is working in neighborhoods,” Wright said. “We saw a connection that others weren’t seeing or being highlighted — using neighborhood activation efforts to spur economic development.”
According to Wright, a lot of work has been done around tactical urbanism, which is more about planning and not about developing. The pair saw two problems: that neighborhood residents tended to create a plan, get together and put dots on a map, but then the planning stopped. On the other hand, developers want to develop, but don’t know how or where to enter a market.
The Neighborhood Playbook is a way to solve both of those problems.
“It’s a way for developers to take a more proactive approach to entering markets, and a way for neighborhoods to take a more proactive approach to spur development,” Wright said.
Wright and Nickol wrote a PDF called “Five Ways to Activate Your Neighborhood This Weekend,” which got lots of downloads and attention. From there, they decided to apply for a $10,000 People’s Liberty grant.
With the grant, the pair created the two-sided Playbook — one side for neighborhoods and the other for developers. The project officially launched on Sept. 21, where 50 Playbooks were given away for free. They’re now available online
“It’s interesting to see who is buying them and where they’re from,” Wright said. “It was really exciting when we got our first buyer we didn’t know.”
Community development corporations, consulting firms, developers and individuals from all over the country have purchased Playbooks.
The city of Bellevue is currently beta testing the Playbook for its Old Kentucky Makers Market
. Residents are activating an alley and parking lot next to a vacant building, and are trying to develop the area into something positive.
“We want to find ways for developers and community members to grow neighborhoods,” Wright said. “
"Our passion is that the Playbook becomes a way for neighborhoods to take control of development, which ensures that it’s what they want for their neighborhood," Kevin Wright.
Development shouldn’t happen to a place but with a place, and this is a tool to make that happen.”
Wright and Nickol are currently working on the digital side of the Playbook. When a Playbook is purchased, that person gets a password for the Resources portion of the website, which provides them access to other organizations, vendor forms, etc.
They are also planning to create a national map of people and organizations who are utilizing the Playbook, and possibly creating a second project out of that.
Twice per year, eight grantees are chosen per grant cycle to prototype solutions to civic challenges. Project grantees are supported with $10,000, a launch event and access to People’s Liberty’s workplace and mentorship. Stay tuned to Soapbox for profiles of this year's 15 other grantees.