What Are Neighborhood Democracy Initiatives?

A Network of Collaborative Communities

Our most important goal is to increase neighbor engagement throughout Utah’s neighborhoods. We do this by creating opportunities to increase the leadership skills of neighborhood leaders and supporting community-building activities throughout the state. Neighborhood democracy initiatives are the primary vehicle that we use to accomplish these goals.

We envision a network of connected communities across the state that empower residents to know their neighbors and develop relationships are open and constructive. In our vision, these communities are locally sustainable, diverse in character, and have a rich quality of life due to the unique population of the residents who live there.

Through facilitation, training and technical assistance, we strengthen the capacity of neighborhood democracy initiatives and their members to mobilize community assets, support visionary leadership, and foster collaboration. By supporting and mobilizing neighborhood leaders and residents we create and sustain healthy neighborhoods.

We work directly with neighborhood democracy initiatives throughout the state, including community councils, neighborhood associations, homeowners’ associations, community development corporations, long-term care facility resident councils, faith-based organizations, service delivery agencies, and other not-for-profit groups.

We focus on developing community assets, encouraging and empowering local leadership, promoting collaboration, and strengthening neighborhood democracy initiatives.

Defining Neighborhood Democracy

We are the only statewide organization dedicated to supporting the development of neighborhood democracy initiatives. In short, neighborhood democracy initiatives are groups that represent the community to promote stability and creating a collective voice to be an effective force for better communities. These initiatives come in many forms, including:

  • Community Council: Voluntary, self-governing associations composed of residents, property owners, business owners, and other stakeholders located within a given geographic area. Community councils serve an advisory function to provide a direct and continuing means of citizen participation in government and local affairs. 

  • Cooperative: An organization that is owned and democratically governed by the people who use its products, supplies, and/or services. Cooperatives can vary in their particular purpose but share in common the fact that they are formed to meet the specific objectives of members and adapt to member’s changing needs.

  • Facility Residents Council: An independent, organized group of people who live in a nursing or healthcare facility who meet on a regular basis to discuss concerns, develop suggestions, and plan activities.

  • Homeowner’s Association: Organizations of homeowners of a particular subdivision, condominium or planned unit development. The purpose of a homeowners association is to provide a common basis for preserving maintaining and enhancing their homes and property.

  • Neighborhood Association: A group of residents or property owners who advocate for or organize activities within a neighborhood. They are different than homeowner’s associations in that the dues they charge are not mandatory and they involve voluntary participation.

Neighborhood democracy initiatives are a broad collection of organizations and styles. It is common for them to meet the definition of more than one of the above categories. We are always here to help. Contact us at 801-820-0714 or at info@utciv.org for support. We’re pleased to provide technical assistance or training as your neighborhood moves from good to great.