Livable community panel to expand on week theme

When she speaks at 2 p.m. today in the Hall of Philosophy, Carol Naughton will discuss Purpose Built Communities broad mission to create livable, equitable communities across the country.

At 3:30 p.m., however, Naughton will moderate a panel exploring a more “granular” approach, she said.

“How do you get this to work on the ground? What does it take? What does it look like? What are the real tricks?” she said.

The CHQ Livable Community Forum presentation is at the Hall of Philosophy and is presented in partnership with Chautauqua Institution. It includes Gerry Barousse, chair of the Bayou District Foundation, Othello Meadows III, executive director of Seventy Five North, and Danny Shoy, president of the East Lake Foundation.

The panel, and a following CHQ Livable Community Forum lecture at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Hall of Philosophy from pediatrician and founder of the Build Healthy Places Network Douglas Jutte, is part of the Institution taking a more expansive look at healthcare in the third and final year of its Week Nine programming on the topic.

“This year, we have broadened the topic to look at more contributors to a healthy, livable community beyond traditional healthcare delivery,” said Institution Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer George Murphy. “Most approaches to a sustainable, healthy community involve local, community-based solutions and start with a commitment by the community stakeholders.”

That’s what Naughton and her colleagues do — Barousse and his foundation have been instrumental in rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina; Meadows runs the “community quarterback” organization in Omaha, Nebraska, that has partnered with Purpose Built Communities; Shoy is current president of East Lake Foundation. Each is invested in revitalizing — or establishing — communities in which people can thrive.

“[Meadows and his organization are] working on revitalizing an incredibly distressed part of Omaha, one of the most dangerous places to be an African-American because of the extraordinary violence,” Naughton said. “[Shoy] will look at what [East Lake Foundation] looks like 20 years later. What are you going to do to make sure the neighborhood doesn’t lose its mission, and create a permanent path out of poverty?”

Naughton said she particularly wanted to highlight Barousse, who she calls “one of my real heroes.”

In November 2005, just weeks after Katrina, Barousse and two colleagues visited the East Lake Foundation to see if it could be a model for them to rebuild the city.

“When they left, Gerry looked at me and said, ‘We don’t know how we’re going to do this, but we’re going to figure it out,’ ” Naughton said. “They’ve done such great work and created a mostly successful revitalization borne from the storm.”

In New Orleans, Barousse and the Bayou District Foundation have facilitated the building of almost 800 mixed-income apartments and 100 senior housing apartments. They’ve established a charter school, and they are creating an economically diverse community.

“Gerry is this unassuming, low-key, block-and-tackle leader,” Naughton said. “He said, ‘We love our city. We love the people who live here, and we can do better.’ He marshaled resources from all over the country to launch people into the stratosphere.”

Wednesday morning, Jutte will discuss his work with Build Healthy Places Network, which focuses on the development of communities and health.

“His theory is that health doesn’t happen at the doctor’s office; it happens in the neighborhoods, where we work, where we live and play,” Naughton said. “What do we need in those institutions and places to make sure they reach their full health potential?”

The discussions today and Wednesday will bring “real-life, field-developed approaches and solutions to building livable communities,” Murphy said. “Chautauquans will get a feel for real-life environments, barriers to change and breakthrough approaches that fit certain communities. Each community is different and involves solutions that are both local and built on prior learning.”

Naughton agreed — there are “lots of things” Chautauquans can take back to their communities.

“A few will look at these hairy, audacious goals and ask, ‘How do you create these pathways?’ ” she said. “There are going to be people in the audience who want to do something, and Purpose Built is going to help.”

While the theme for the final year in Chautauqua’s healthcare series may seem to be a departure from that issue, Naughton believes it’s all connected.

“If you had asked me five years ago if I was in the health business, I would have said ‘hell, no — I’m a community developer,’ ” she said. “Now, if you ask if I’m in the health business, I say ‘hell, yes — I’m a community developer.’ ”