Fifth City Community Center

The Iron Statue Plaza, the Community Center, and Fifth City Business Careers were symbols of the community’s efforts. The plaza created a web of local social constructs to deal with identified problems. The community organizers created four structures under each of the five major problem areas.

For example, under the economy are the local Employment Bureau, Redevelopment Corporation, Consumers Association, and Health Clinic. Under education, there is a Preschooling Complex, a Public School Auxiliary, a Citizenship Training School, and a Continuing Education Program; this made up a total of 20 prominent local community structures. Each of these twenty has four projects under it, making 80 in the whole community.

The project also built around micro-models of organizing through two community structures called Stakes and Guilds.

Stakes divided the neighborhood up into smaller areas to create intimate networks of community care and connection, small enough to engage in ideation and dialogue that would produce a range of helpful solutions for community challenges.

Guilds were structures that organized the work of renewing community divided around specific concepts, labor, and skill sets. Five primary areas were identified: economic, educational, symbolic, social, and political.

These local structures did not replace existing systems but instead served them. The community created broader machinery on the city, state, and federal level effective for the inner city citizen. The Community Center worked as a bridge between state and federal programs. These structures gave the people power to do something about their needs. The center would go on to create more than 70 jobs within its vicinity.

Learn more
Reshaping Community Development: The 5th City Project
Community Development That Works
Human Development Report: Fifth City