Comprehensive Local Community Development via Collaborative Quality of Life Planning: Best Practices from Two San Diego Neighborhoods

  • Mirle Rabinowitz BussellEmail author
  • Kerry Sheldon
Part of the Community Quality-of-Life Indicators book series (CQLI, volume 3)


This study presents best practices in the quality of life planning process in two low-income, multiethnic urban neighborhoods in San Diego, California. We focus on the planning process since community engagement is frequently identified as a critical factor in successful quality of life planning, but the processes through which this occurs require further investigation. We analyze case studies from the Neighborhoods First initiative, a quality of life planning process launched in 2008 by San Diego LISC, a community development intermediary. Based on the Neighborhoods First experience, we found that the quality of life planning process in low-income urban neighborhoods benefits from five critical factors: (1) stakeholder participation that combines recognized neighborhood leaders and emerging leaders; (2) planning processes paired with immediate outcomes; (3) facilitators who ensure timely completion of the process; (4) transparency in the process; and (5) early acknowledgment and incorporation of each neighborhood’s unique history.


Planning Process Community Development Nonprofit Organization Community Engagement Focus Group Participant 
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Select Online Resources Pertaining to Neighborhoods First

  1. Neighborhoods First: A Roadmap to a Better Future (Documentary)Google Scholar
  2. Un Vivienda Digna (Documentary)Google Scholar
  3. Un Vivienda Digna (Student Reflections)Google Scholar
  4. Neighbors: Digital Stories of Community Building (available on our YouTube playlist – below)Google Scholar
  5. Stories of Colina Park:Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.San Diego LISCSan DiegoUSA

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