Affordable Housing, Community Development, Reports and Publications, Supportive Housing

2013 IForum Series Kicks off with "What Makes a Strong Community?"


The 2013 IForum series, organized by the Partnership for Strong Communities, will kick off the new year with its first event on Tuesday, January 29.

What Makes a Strong Community?

Event will feature Keynote Kaid Benfield and an Expert Panel. Learn more...

The real estate market recognizes some neighborhoods as desirable investments, and others as less so.  Most large and small cities, suburbs and rural towns have places that don't reach their potential or, worse, struggle with disinvestment, poor living conditions, a depressed business climate and a weak tax base.  How can we help strengthen these neighborhoods, and help stronger neighborhoods address challenges to continue thriving?

Solutions for fostering strong communities must be custom tailored to each neighborhood, street or block. This forum’s speakers and audience will explore: what techniques work for what situations; sparking market demand to get people living, shopping, doing business and investing in a neighborhood; lifting a neighborhood without pricing out its current residents; collaborating with residents to harness their ideas and ensure that initiatives meet their needs; and link together multiple efforts in a comprehensive way.

Demographics and market trends, high energy costs, environmental concerns, health and education disparities, the work of attracting young professionals and the need to fuel our economy are elevating the importance of helping our neighborhoods and their people reach their potential.  It's time for a fresh look at what's now possible.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The Lyceum. 227 Lawrence Street, Hartford, CT (Click here for directions)
Register now for this event.

  • 8:30-9:00 a.m.  Conversation, coffee
  • 9:00-11:00 a.m.  Program
  • 11:15-Noon. The conversation continutes - Stay for a more informal chat with our speakers and each other.

The event will feature:
- Keynote Speaker:

  • Kaid Benfield – As director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Benfield manages NRDC’s work advocating solutions to environmental challenges in America’s metropolitan regions, cities and neighborhoods.  He is a founder of Smart Growth America, a national coalition working on smarter land development policy. He is also a founder and leader of LEED for Neighborhood Development, a national program to evaluate and certify environmentally superior residential, commercial, and mixed-use land development.  Benfield is a regular contributing author for The Atlantic, and pushes the cutting edge almost daily on his blog.  He was named one of "the most influential people in sustainable planning and development" in 2010 by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. 

- Expert Panel:

  • Lee Cruz – As community outreach director for the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Cruz has led efforts to engage residents of the Chatham Square Neighborhood in a variety of community-building efforts, including outdoor movies on the green, a local restaurant club, home repairs, beautification projects, block watches and outreach to local realtors to attract homebuyers.  The result has been aesthetic improvement, increasing home values, socioeconomic integration and greater commitment by residents to their neighborhood. 
  • Mario Cruz Principal of Smalley Academy in New Britain, CT, a public grade school pursuing a “community school” model of using the school to meet a wide variety of neighborhood needs.  Smalley opens its doors during and after school to an array of community organizations and service providers to meet the varied needs of students and their families, as well as adults without kids in the school.  With a parent/teacher governing board and solid network of organizations, they are reinventing the relationship between school and community. 
  • Andrea Pereira – As executive director of Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s (LISC) Connecticut program, she manages their provision of technical support and specialized financing to nonprofit community developers around the state working to create affordable housing and strengthen neighborhoods.  LISC is a national leader in promoting comprehensive neighborhood-level approaches, through its Building Sustainable Communities strategy and its Institute for Comprehensive Community Development

- Moderator:

  • Shelby Mertes – Chief Policy Analyst, Partnership for Strong Communities

Click here to download a flier of the event. 

Event is free. We expect strong attendance. Register now:  (If you do not receive an email confirmation within 2 business days, please contact Laura Bachman at 860-244-0066.)

Click here to learn more about the 2013 IForums. 


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