Attitude Surveys of Kalamazoo Residents in Two Neighborhoods
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Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. (KNHS), is a private non-profit corporation dedicated to revitalizing the low income neighborhoods in the City of Kalamazoo, Michigan. They focus particularly on improving the deteriorated housing stock. Anyone who knows the City of Kalamazoo realizes the immensity of this chore. While the city has many historically significant homes with much potential, many of these homes are in serious disrepair. The many community groups dedicated to the improvement of these houses testifies to this fact. "Neighborhood revitalization" is a term that refers to encouraging reinvestment and fostering positive images of the neighborhood. There are many areas that need to be addressed to revitalize a neighborhood. The housing, as well as the quality of life of the residents, need to be improved. In order to improve the quality of life, we need to know how the residents that live there view the neighborhood. KNHS hired me to do surveys of some of the neighborhoods. I was to implement a tool that would reveal the attitudes of the residents about living where they do. While it is easy to envision the surveying process, it is quite a task to realize, as I found out. I spent many hours talking with the residents in Kalamazoo, and learned much about how they felt about their neighborhoods (and inadvertently about their families, their cars, the current world leaders, their grandchildren, etc.). While I enjoyed conducting the surveys, I do not think I would be quick to volunteer for another similar task in the near future.