The Quality-of-Life Planning process, which McNair has been engaged in, is part of the DeKalb Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative (DSNI). Utilizing the blueprint provided by Chicago’s New Communities Program, a longterm and highly influential community-driven planning initiative, Emory University’s Center For Community Partnerships worked jointly with DeKalb County’s Human and Community Development Department to design and launch the DSNI.
The Quality-of-Life Planning process began with the formation of a steering committee for the McNair Cluster and the initial selection of seven focus areas. The steering committee has approximately thirty members made up of cluster residents, leaders of community organizations, and representatives of churches, schools, DeKalb County agencies, and six neighborhood organizations from the cluster. The steering committee selected members to serve on an Executive Committee, comprised of one member from each neighborhood organization and one cluster-wide representative. The steering committee then developed sub-committees to assist with the development of strategies within the focus areas.
On July 21, at a cluster-wide weekend “family fun day” event, neighborhood residents provided input on their priorities.The event was heavily advertised within the cluster by Emory Fellows and steering committee members. The family fun day included surveys, asset mapping exercises, a participatory ranking chart for focus areas, and discussion groups, all involving residents from around the cluster. A second community event was held as part of McNair Parent Teacher Student Association Community Day. There were fewer participants at this event, but data collection and discussions continued along the same lines as those of the previous event. These steps, along with subsequent meetings of the steering committee, executive committee, and various subcommittees, have led to the creation of this Quality-of-Life Plan