Neighborhoods across the Great Lakes region are stronger because residents are working together to achieve the changes they dream about.



Great Lakes Urban exists to encourage and develop resident leaders and to strengthen neighborhoods through the practice of Asset Based Community Development such as: 



  • Place-based Engagement: Geography matters in the process of positive social transformation.  Identifying neighborhood/community boundaries in which good work can be done brings needed focus.


  • Sustained Relationships: Building trust in social interactions is foundational for healthier neighborhood environments and for effective community partnerships.  Priority is given to basic hospitality, thoughtful conversation(s), and supportive activities.


  • Appreciative Strategies: Individual, organizational, and neighborhood/community challenges are best met by identifying life-giving dynamics and utilizing available gifts and resources.  This stands in contrast to problem-solving strategies rooted in assumptions of personal and social deficit(s).


  • Holistic Development: The long term transformation of people and places involves moving beyond doing things for others to doing things with others.  Honoring the stories and gifts of all people, dealing with social/relational isolation, creating access to economic-educational-social resources, cultivating associational-organizational partnerships, and advocating for just policies are needed activities for getting beyond charity.


  • Coaching Support: Growth (for individuals, organizations, or neighborhoods) is often enhanced by the support of an experienced guide or “trusted outsider.”  Key goals and challenges are generally not met in isolation but with the assistance of encouraging friends and wise colleagues.


  • Adaptive Responses: Many significant social and organizational challenges must be met by new ways of thinking and behaving.  The willingness to innovate and take risk is a vital quality for community leaders and influencers.


  • Faith-inspired Imagination: The sacred texts of the Christian faith bear witness to God’s gracious and saving purposes in the world.  They present a vision of restored relationships (with God, with one another, and with the physical world) made possible by sacrificial love.  This beautiful story and compelling vision invites our cooperation and ongoing participation.