Thrive Conference, April 20, 2018
THRIVE, together with Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities (SABHC), the Delhi Center and additional partners of the Equity for All Workgroup, convened the first annual Santa Ana Thrive Conference on April 20, 2018. The conference showcased presenters from Santa Ana and throughout the United States who shared tools, models, and valuable experiences in a growing movement, where residents and community members lead economic development to meet local needs. Models such as community land trusts, worker cooperatives, inclusive transit-oriented development, and urban agriculture were presented as opportunities to re-invent economic development, giving residents and workers decision-making roles, and recognizing their vested interest in providing resources and services in their neighborhoods.
City officials from Columbus, Missouri, Oakland and Long Beach joined Santa Ana City staff from the Community Development and Public Works departments to discuss the role of government in supporting community-driven development. Professors and researchers from several institutions, including Keynote Speaker UCLA professor Ananya Roy, addressed the exacerbating inequality created by outdated, top-down models of development, and supported alternatives in research such as participatory action research that centers the experiences of those most vulnerable to displacement. Lastly, presenters called for land management strategies that recognize the role of Indigenous communities and for needed rent stabilization and renters rights to support housing as a human right. This conference was a valuable opportunity to highlight the numerous community-driven strategies already emerging from Santa Ana, to connect to a widespread national movement, and to set the stage for the role that THRIVE Santa Ana will play moving forward.
In 2015, community-based research continued with The People’s Data project, collaborating with The Kennedy Commission, St. Joseph’s Health System, and local residents to gather data on existing housing and economic conditions. This latter effort brought forth a report titled “Lacy in Crisis and in Action,” which presents vital data about housing needs in the Lacy neighborhood.