Michal Gilboa Ater | CEO, Democratic Institute
The group of residents “Gevanim (shades) in Hatikva” constitutes a pilot for the Democratic Institute’s model “Gevanim in the Neighborhood”. It offers a possible answer to the question “How do we turn residents into partners?”
The Hatikva Neighborhood is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, with a complex mosaic of residents that is splitting and fading. There is concern that it may even disappear.
?How did it begin
A group of residents gathered from diverse communities, sectors, age groups, genders, occupations and more. What they all had in common was the desire for activist innovation, taking shared responsibility for the neighborhood and holding a fruitful dialogue between all the partners in the group and outside of it.
The group went through a process of self-definition, placing it as a mission team, whose goal is to create a reality on the ground, with close partnership, perseverance and a positive connection to the local authority. Despite the various differences between participants, a common language was develoepd between the neighborhood’s residents, who define the neighborhood’s past, present and future as a whole.
Already now, when the process is still underway, you could say the project is a success story. The group managed to position itself as a significant player for municipality officials – one that can take part in decision making processes and have an influence on them.
Three anchors were defined, which the group chose based on their inclination and the neighborhood’s needs: an historic anchor, local business anchor, and demographic anchor
The feeling of success toward the process was felt and well seen in an exposure evening that took place a month ago in Beit Dani. Our group members participated in the event, along with municipality executives, different officials and city district members – a meeting between residents and authority, which led to the creation of work groups, meetings for challenge development and more.
The process is a success, both in terms of relations between different players in the authority field, and immediate and future outcomes in the neighborhood. The process is still underway, but the model already seems to be proving itself and is about to expand to additional authorities these very days.