The Fight to Save the Town: Reimagining Discarded America

By: Michelle Wilde Anderson

Meeting Date: June 7, 2023 6:30 PM

“The Fight to Save the Town” is about how some cities and towns, faced with unrelenting poverty and abandonment, have fought back by creating unexpected grassroots strengths and new citizen networks.

The “big ideas” for Urban Atlanta:

  • We need champions for a bottom-up approach to neighborhood development. The best champions are public officials.
  • Leadership must come from within the community—and remain there. The keys for grassroots success are organization, discussion and activities that result in residents knowing what they have and what they need and want. 
  • Outside experts and city leaders can play important roles but must resist the temptation to take over. The two most important things outsiders can do is work with residents in organizing improvement efforts and finding resources. But the residents must bring the leadership and neighborhood commitment—and some of the resources.