Department of Neighborhoods and Citizen Engagement
Neighborhoods are the heartbeat of our city. Mayor Schor’s first executive order was to make neighborhoods a top priority by creating a Department of Neighborhoods and Citizen Engagement (DNCE). This new Department places neighborhoods front and center in the administration. He appointed Director Andi Crawford to lead the DNCE and the Executive Order was unanimously passed by City Council.
Director Crawford and her team are in the community working directly with citizens. The DNCE’s role in the city is to support neighborhoods by convening community dialogues, delivering capacity building trainings, and connecting civic organizations to resources. The DNCE also facilitates the creation of organizations and helps them build capacity so that they can advocate for the changes and developments they wish to see in their neighborhoods.
During its first year, the DNCE increased communication with citizens through the weekly Lansing Neighborhood News, monthly Neighborhood Roundtables, and quarterly Housing and Neighborhood Resource Summits.
In the fall of 2018 the DNCE launched the Citizen’s Academy, a program that engages citizens to learn more about how the City of Lansing functions. This program takes participants on tours of various city departments so they can see how the city operates. They also have the opportunity to give feedback on ways to improve city government. Innovations in city government are happening all around the nation and world. The DNCE shares many of these strategies in the Citizen’s Academy and participants discuss together which strategies should be brought here to Lansing.
Another major initiative of the DNCE is Serve Lansing, a citywide community service plan. Serve Lansing will increase citizen engagement and increase volunteer opportunities throughout Lansing with a focus on neighborhood beatification, emergency preparedness and resilience. Every day the City of Lansing is approached by citizens and partners who want to get involved and improve Lansing neighborhoods. The City must have a system and staff able to coordinate and capitalize on these partnerships, which is why the Department of Neighborhoods and Citizen Engagement and the Serve Lansing plan are so important.
The Lansing School District is partnering with the City of Lansing in ever expanding ways. The DNCE is excited to see the Lansing Pathway Promise coming to life throughout the city. Together these partners are building new and improved facilities for students and community to enjoy, facilities that instill pride in Lansing neighborhoods. With overwhelming community support for the school bond, the Lansing School District is building cutting edge facilities and programs that prepare Lansing students for college and career, creating a 21st century school district for a 21st century city. These new facilities, along with the Lansing Promise Scholarship, will attract and retain families in Lansing’s schools. This is a key priority for neighborhoods and an exciting development for Lansing.
This is an exciting time in Lansing neighborhoods. Thank you for choosing to make Lansing your home. The Department of Neighborhoods and Citizen Engagement looks forward to serving you and working with you to build great neighborhoods.