Monthly Archives: April 2015

Network Weaving

Accessing the Advice of Your Peers

These one-time events are an opportunity to get practical and imaginative help from network members immediately. It’s perfect for people tackling a challenge or new project to get a bit of insight from peers who have useful perspectives or who have done the same thing before. Each event has an “assistee” who shares a challenge, a “facilitator” who keeps the process on track and on time, and 6-9 “peers” who share their thoughts.

They tend to be most beneficial when the assistee has a clear purpose and can clearly articulate that to participants. What decision do you face?

I’ve been using peer assists both with local peers, as we support one another through our network-building challenges and with NEWHAB. I’ve found multiple benefits, beyond helping people find new solutions in their work.

  • It’s an accessible way for people to practice network skills like listening and seeing everyone as a leader.
  • Peers report gaining new insight of their own.
  • All participants build relationships with one another.
  • And all participants give something — a challenge, some time, some ideas — starting an economy of intellectual reciprocity in the network.

Here’s the instruction guide I prepared for a one-hour activity I led with a group of peers. Check out the great video above from the University of Ottowa’s Center for e-Learning.

How have you used a peer-assist? How would you change the guide?

Affordable Housing Healthy Cities

On Rental Housing and Markets

You may know that I also blog over at streets.mn, and I just posted a three-part series on rental housing markets, affordable rental housing and related policy. (Three posts so far, it may grow). It was inspired by things happening in my back yard: a lot of hand-wringing about affordable housing, concerns about luxury buildings forcing up naturally-occurring affordable rents, and what can we do about it all. It’s conceptual enough I think it is useful anywhere.

I start off at my own owner-occupied four-unit apartment building where I explain How I Set Apartment Rents. I moved on to a basic housing market explainer in Housing Markets? Humbug! In the third, I walk through an overview of how big the need for affordable housing is, what current subsidy can — or really cannot — do to address the problem, and offer my thoughts on how to Reduce Affordable Housing Need in Three Steps.

map of rental cost burden twin ities

Rental Burden (paying more than 30% of income in rent)
Map credit: Elliot Altbaum