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Smart Communities: How Citizens and Local Leaders Can Use Strategic Thinking to Build a Brighter Future 1st Edition

5 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0787965167
ISBN-10: 0787965162
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Editorial Reviews


“Anyone who dreams of making his or her community a better place to live and work should read this book. It is a refreshingly practical primer on how towns, cities, and regions can create a shared vision and measurable impact.”
—Janice C. Kreamer, president and CEO, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation

“Innovation and entrepreneurship have always been the driving forces behind the success of U.S. commerce and industry. Smart Communities clearly demonstrates with real and compelling examples that these same forces are just as important in the public and nonprofit sectors and are making a difference in communities all over America.”
—Michael Rubinger, president, Local Initiatives Support Corporation

“Everyone who is working to bring about positive change in their communities, from college presidents to next-door neighbors, will be grateful that Suzanne Morse is sharing her vast experience in community building in this highly readable and helpful book. It provides a roadmap for any community, large or small, that wants to create a better future by working togeth er for effective change.”
—Elizabeth L. Hollander, executive director, Campus Compact

“Using the insight gained from having a ‘front row seat watching community change,’ Suzanne Morse has distilled those observations into a strategy for success. Her practical formula builds upon the good that exists in communities now to help them transform their neighborhoods and the nation—with principles, planning, and perseverance.”
—Angela Glover Blackwell, president, PolicyLink, and coauthor, Searching for the Uncommon Good

“Rare is the book which weaves civic stories with wise counsel about what we must do to foster communities that present and future generations will respect and hold dear. This book speaks to the aspirations of all American citizens who lead, volunteer, and give in the places they live.”
—Gregg Behr, president, The Forbes Funds, and founding director, The Content of Our Character Project

“The book is a Matisse drawing of communities¾fresh, concise, and very, very timely.”
—Frieda Garcia, former president, United South End Settlements

From the Inside Flap

"Smart Communities is for policymakers and citizens alike who care about their communities and have been looking for help in making better community decisions. Smart communities do things differently and Suzanne Morse shows how they do it. It is a valuable contribution to our future."
Marc H. Morial, former mayor of New Orleans and president and CEO, National Urban League

Based on the results of more than a decade of research by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, Smart Communities provides directions for strategic decision-making and outlines the key strategies used by thousands of leaders who have worked to create successful communities. Smart Communities offers leaders from both the public and private sectors the tools they need to create a better future for the citizens of their communities. Using illustrative examples from communities around the country, Smart Communities shows how these change agents' well-structured decision-making processes can be traced to their effective use of seven key leverage points:

  • Investing right the first time
  • Working together
  • Building on community strengths
  • Practicing democracy
  • Preserving the past
  • Growing leaders
  • Inventing a brighter future

This important resource is a unique contribution to the literature and offers community leaders the information they need to build a civic infrastructure and to create community readiness that will help avert problems before they begin.

Smart Communities offers hope to those who are striving to improve their communities and addresses vital issues such as poverty, race relations, and children’s health and welfare.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (March 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787965162
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787965167
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,043,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Finally, an exceedingly hopeful book about how to effect meaningful change in a community, large or small. Here, Dr. Suzanne Morse, in her characteristic lively and to-the-point style, has given us a guide, repleat with documented examples of how to move the needle on those issues we're all too familiar with: poverty, lack of a board base of leadership, chidren's welfare. Armed with more than 10 years of hands on experience working with groups in communities all across the country, Dr. Morse's book, as well as many of her other supportive pieces such as What Works, guarantees us all that we no longer have to start at square one. If you were depressed by Robert Putnam's novel a few years back, Bowling Alone, which bemoaned the lack of citizen involvement in communities today, this book and the work of Dr. Morse will give you not only hope but the tools to join forces with others where you live to make a difference.
Read it for the cheer joy of finding out how this is done, and done well.Each chapter ends with, How to Get Started in Your Community, a virtual workbook for action. Her reference section will also help guide you in fruitful directions.Putnam's latest book, Better Together: Restoring the American Community, speaks of a hint that citizens are beginning to "bowl together". Dr. Morse's book is proof that they are and have been doing so effectively for the past decade.Enjoy--an exhilerating read.
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This book is an antidote for the cynicism and sense of helplessness that pervades too many of our communities. We are given actual examples of communities builing on their strengths, talents, histories and values to create new energy and optimism. As an amatuer historian, my favorite chapter was the one on preserving the past as a way to begin building the new. Now I have the language to encourage renewal by honoring the past.
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I was attracted to this book while looking for insights into strategic thinking for work in another arena. I was not disappointed.
Smart Communities offers many very useable ideas for anyone with responsibilities for thinking and acting strategically to enhance our lives together. And that probably includes most everyone.
Along with very practical help, the accounts and interpretations of real experiences also offer inspiration and hope.
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I'm sure that you are busy. I've got a lot of things to do myself, more than I can get done today. And then the time comes when you have to stop being busy, some times you just have to sit and let the batteries recharge. As the old saying goes, sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.

And the question has to come up of what can one person, you or me do to make the community we live in a better place. Suzanne Morse's book can't tell you what you can do. But it can tell you what other people like you have done. Will her ideas work in New York City, no. Will they work on the block you live in within New York City, in the neighborhood you live in, yes.

Meanwhile I've got to quit writing about this book. I'm going help the local community theater try to get started. I don't know anything about theater, but I can find some way to help, even if it's just sweeping the floor.
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