Formulate Your Comprehensive Strategy

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In this section:

Long-Haul Indicators

Long-Haul Indicators

Decision makers lack sufficient information or are unwilling or unable to move.

  • Decision makers are reticent to explicitly name the systemic causes of inequities.
  • Decision makers either don’t have or won’t share data that reveals systemic inequities.
  • Opponents of your strategy are creating counternarratives and disrupting the decision-making process. You may run into such opposition when trying to move an ambitious agenda. If you keep hitting this wall, you may need to reassess and reset your power map, contribution analysis, and communications/cultural strategies.
  • The strategy faces serious cultural or political headwinds. This is especially important to keep in mind when looking at models that have been successful in other communities. A great idea in one community can easily fail in another without a clear understanding of the strategy needed to build support inside the halls of power and out in the community.
  • It is unclear who has the authority or jurisdiction to make decisions, or if there is jurisdictional complexity. This can happen when a neighborhood crosses city and county lines or public parcels are owned by numerous public entities.
  • The people in charge of developing the strategy have no clear understanding of what is needed to implement it and are making decisions without the implementers giving input or feedback. Like the difference between the architects that design a building and the construction workers that build it, there can be serious gaps between the knowledge, experience, and expectations of the decision makers who design or decide on a strategy and the staff who implement it.
  • The constituents to whom elected officials are accountable are strongly opposed to what you are trying to accomplish.

The legal infrastructure required to advance a specific strategy is weak, not in your favor, or overly complex.

  • State or federal laws prohibit or preempt your preferred legislative strategy. Certain legislative or funding decisions can be rendered moot if they are preempted, which is when laws at a higher level of government prevent a lower level of government from passing certain kinds of legislation. Many common affordable housing policies, such as inclusionary zoning, are preempted by state law. For more information, see the Local Solutions Support Center.
  • Your change requires voter approval. When neither elected officials nor staff have the authority to make a final decision, you’ll need to build a broader campaign to get on the ballot and educate voters.
  • A complex zoning change is required. Individual projects can usually apply for zoning variances, but if your strategy requires a larger change to zoning laws, you’ll need to go through a longer political process.
  • There are current legal battles over the change you want to make. When cases are winding through the courts, you will usually have to wait for the decision before moving forward.

The organizational infrastructure required to advance a specific strategy is weak, absent, understaffed, or underfunded.

  • There is insufficient staffing or funding.
  • The staff in charge of implementing the change have competing priorities or lack the knowledge or capacity to make the change.