A team of University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service students is concluding its research in partnership with the Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corporation.
Throughout the academic year, Clinton School students Jennifer Browne (Little Rock, Ark.), Tim Campbell (Little Rock, Ark.), Kamelle Gomez (Jacksonville, Fla.), and Cody McKinney (Nags Head, N.C.) have assisted DLRDC in creating an inventory and map of community based-assets within Little Rock’s Pettaway neighborhood.
The project serves as a first step toward asset-based community development in the Pettaway neighborhood. Asset-based community development allows the community itself to drive improvement, identifying and mobilizing existing assets, and encouraging local economic opportunity for residents. The approach considers local assets as the primary building blocks of sustainable community development.
“The skills of Pettaway residents vary greatly,” McKinney said. “A majority of our respondents own or are interested in owning their own business.”
Using ABCD, the team set out to determine what assets are present in the Pettaway neighborhood, how residents and stakeholders feel about the development of the neighborhood, and what residents envision for the future of Pettaway.
The team delivered surveys to neighborhood residents via email, QR codes, and a flyer program through the City of Little Rock, and paper surveys were available through the local neighborhood center. Each online survey respondent was asked to share the link with two of their neighbors. Focus groups were also conducted with neighborhood residents.
Overall, respondents felt positive about the development in the neighborhood, with 93% stating that they have benefited from the development and 100% stating they are pleased with the direction.
The team identified three themes for the future of the Pettaway neighborhood: increased residences and businesses, a bikeable and walkable neighborhood, and economic, cultural, and racial diversity.
Jim Hammons, a Pettaway neighborhood resident and current President of the Pettaway Neighborhood Association, responded that his vision of the neighborhood is a “walkable/bikeable neighborhood that is diverse and thriving because it provides economic opportunities for its residents close to home.”
In addition to the surveys and focus groups, the team members participated in various community-building activities in the area throughout the year, including planting trees at 17th and Cumberland Streets through the Tree Streets volunteer program, and presenting at the Little Rock Neighborhood Connections meeting in January.
The students will present their findings online on Friday, April 17.
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.