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Full Spectrum Approach


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How do we incorporate the advantages of best practices in a full-spectrum approach to community building?

I've spent decades wandering about the various aspects of community development. I wanted to know how things worked. I produced a television show that allowed a deeper exploration of how people worked through fears and the commonality they found in personal, workplace and community relationships. We explored both inner and outer motivating factors.

I found engaging City futures forums, community assessments and working in educational systems to be quite fulfilling for a time, then disappointing as they seemed to be plagued with sub-standard behavior and considerations for the future. I understand that society changes slowly and the resistance to change often creates war.

Those wars spill over into agenda constrictions and behavioral complexities that even the best organizational development consultants and facilitators find challenging. I liked one of the notions that came up in my MA program... that challenge and change are only three letters different. Removing the 'lle' (liabilities, limitations and excuses) automatically creates change. I was fortunate to be able to extend that thoughtmosphere into the realms of the local chapter of the American Society for Training and Development's annual conference in 2010, titled, "The Shift: Challenge to Change; Removing liabilities, limitations and excuses in the workplace."

I enjoyed teaching high school in a number of environments, while looking for a steady job in the business curriculum arena so I could become fully certified, which included district, charter and even a residential treatment center. Holistic systems always fascinated me, so I look for ways to improve upon existing arrangements to facilitate greater harmony among the people, places and things involved. It doesn't always bode well. However, it prompted me to write a business plan for a model school to address the 'at-risk' students I found to be slipping through the cracks right and left.

Partial Answer to the Question:

My living partner, who I coaxed into the MA in Organizational Mangement program at the University of Phoenix, and I proceded to discuss and craft the plan while in our program together. We'd met as a result of our deep-seated desires to create highly functioning communities that integrated eco-systems and hi-tech solutions to engaging the citizens and nature, modeling a symbiosis of people, places and things that could provide future solutions to a variety of challenges. Our concern was to look at the big picture first and craft a scalable model that would emulate a best-practice-driven community.

We began by considering housing, including the natural circadian rhythms as well as planetary rhythms. We concluded that a 13-moon configuration would work well for the achievement of lunar-driven goals and objectives. As each month's goals were met, movement to the next house would occur as a rite of passage, celebrated as well, with a full cycle granting the student a vote on the peer-community council's administrative and facility management actions.Community building and operation is taught through the living environment as well as the curriculum. Each 'house' would extend the learning from the classroom and outdoor activity with developmental processes.

That is the beginning of the plan and perhaps it can stimulate other discussion and/or considerations for the community here. Holistic considerations can spill over into the subsets of communities that are being created around population centers now. They already include master-planned developments that have the standard civil planning or community components. Inclusion of advanced technology that included power generation and transportation options appears to be just sense made common. Commerce is taking a turn with the entrepreneurial co-working and incubator space developments. Why not associate those with a community development as well?

To grow our understanding and capacity for harmony with people, places and things in our future developments is imperative as we all know. I'm just another choir member whose thankful for a place to share something that, perhaps, may have some value. There is more if there is interest. Something that can offer an additional professional perspective is my work with construction partnering through Team Partnering. It may appear conservative in presentation.

The video attached to this article is a presentation about Spectrum Academy and the potential it holds for restoring the empowering nature of community building. Perhaps the ideas will stimulate your involvement somehow, or at least offer some quiet contemplation about the possibilities it holds.



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About the Author

Zen Benefiel, Be The Dream, LLC
1606 E. Libra Drive
Tempe, AZ 85283
480-319-9164

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