During Purpose Built Communities’ first 10 years, staff primarily provided one-on-one consulting support to individual Network Members. In 2019, with the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Purpose Built Communities began moving from a hub-and-spokes structure (with Purpose Built serving as the hub), to a Community of Practice, also known as a networked model. This shift helps Network Members to build stronger relationships and share knowledge with each other. The CoP model also allows Purpose Built to more effectively support revitalization efforts that result in healthy, vibrant neighborhoods.
Communities of Practice bring together professionals who share a common set of challenges (e.g., Purpose Built Network leaders focused on place-based community development) on an ongoing basis to collaboratively solve problems and learn from each other. CoPs have become even more necessary and effective as the U.S. navigates the COVID-19 pandemic, racial reckoning and economic shifts that contribute to enormous new stresses and challenges for professionals working to make neighborhoods healthier places to live.
The Purpose Built Community of Practice stimulates problem recognition, and the creation, exchange and application of innovations to serve place-based neighborhood revitalization that moves people out of poverty.
The CoP’s structure and interactions help Network Members:
- Build stronger relationships with supportive peers
- Accelerate knowledge sharing
- Respond rapidly and flexibly to changes in circumstances
- Shorten learning curves to gain skills and expertise fundamental to Network Member excellence
- Successfully implement the Purpose Built Communities model
- Make informed decisions that create stronger outcomes
Value and Impact of the Purpose Built Community of Practice: 2019-2021 Paper is a collaboration between:
This paper — intended for Purpose Built Communities staff, supporters, partners and Network Members — articulates Purpose Built’s successful and compelling journey to adopt and implement a CoP strategy. Specifically, the paper describes the Purpose Built CoP startup process, the status of the Purpose Built CoP as of early 2021 and success factors to date. Finally, the paper links to tips for practitioners who support and manage CoPs and networks.