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About Us

This web site grew out of the professional collaboration of Colombo and Balizer for nearly three decades including co-teaching neighborhood planning courses.

Over time, we came to realize that each discipline has an approach more appropriate to Neighborhood Planning. These include: Community Education in the educational field; Community Oriented Policing, in public safety; the "Ecological" approach, in professional social work; Traditional Neighborhood Development, in the New Urbanists' approach to planning and architectural design. This web site interconnects these approaches in the overall context of Neighborhood Planning. The unifying theory is one supported by the work of Putnam, Coleman, and others related to building "social capital".

Social capital is strong in a broad and dense network of friends, acquaintances, and family which are employed to identify problems, formulate approaches to correct them, effect change, and support one another in the process. It is located primarily in the neighborhood and involves many formal and informal organizations. Social capital is centered on trust, norms of behavior, and confidence.

The content of the site is based upon the Neighborhood Planning for Community Development course taught by Balizer and Colombo and their professional practice. Their full professional lives as planners and educators informs the content.

Over time, different neighborhood planning topics will become "chapters" written by Colombo or Balizer that pull the material together. These currently are available on the site under the titles "Action Strategies for Community Development", regarding planning models; the "Planned Growth Strategy" related to metropolitan forces affecting neighborhoods; and "Neighborhood Place and Community, History, Social Capital, Religion, and Meaning in The Hill District of St. Louis, Missouri", regarding the physical environment of neighborhoods.

The Neighborhood Planning web site is solely an educational effort. It is intended to assist those interested in better understanding neighborhoods and what might be done to plan, preserve, and improve them.

Colombo and Balizer are available to speak, formally or more casually, with neighborhood groups, coalitions, policy makers, university gatherings, agency staff, and foundations. Please make email inquiries concerning our schedules and costs associated with these presentations. Colombo and Balizer, usually in partnership with others, also carry out planning projects as consultants under the company name Colombo and Associates.

"Ollie" is the Neighborhood Planning web site mascot. He is a rescued dog brought to you by Lyna Shirley Colombo and Tama Trujillo of East Side Herding and Small Dog Rescue.




The Neighborhood Planning site is posted by Louis Colombo and Ken Balizer.

Louis Colombo holds a doctorate in urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan. He was an adjunct faculty member since the early 1980s in Community and Regional Planning program at the University of New Mexico's School of Architecture and Planning. He was named the New Mexico Professional Planner of the Year in 2002, primarily for his work on the Planned Growth Strategy. His studio courses at Virginia Tech University produced the Braddock Road TOD plan and the East Falls Church TOD plan, which won best student project awards in 2004 and 2005 from the Virginia American Planning Association. He was awarded the 2014 Outstanding Local Government Achievement Award from the Saint Louis regional Council of Governments for community development planning in the O'Fallon neighborhood. Colombo was instrumental in creating the Albuquerque Community Schools Partnership and served as its chairperson. He was project manager for the initial version of the Albuquerque Form Based Code, the Volcano Heights Sector Plan, and other plans. More recently, he has taught neighborhood community development at the University of Missouri in Saint Louis (public policy program) and Washington University in Saint Louis (social work school).

Ken Balizer holds degrees in economics from Oklahoma State University and the University of New Mexico. He has been the director of the City Planning Department in Albuquerque and also head of the City's redevelopment agency. Balizer has been directly involved in neighborhood based economic development and affordable housing for over 20 years. In the mid 1990’s Balizer was one of the principal organizers of the statewide smart growth group, 1000 Friends of NM, and served as its president. He was the executive director of the Sawmill Community Land Trust, a community based non-profit redeveloping a predominantly Hispanic industrial working class neighborhood near downtown Albuquerque. He authored the Albuquerque Workforce Housing Act and helped develop a downtown SRO (Single Room Occupancy) project . He successfully served as director of the Bainbridge Island Community Land Trust in Seattle. Ken now is working on the housing program for the Barelas neighborhood in Albuquerque.


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Copyright 2005
Dr. Louis Colombo & Ken Balizer, AICP