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Northside Planning Council - NPC

Managing Editor’s Column: June/July 2018

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Taking up space on the third page of a newspaper for a community that I am deeply committed to, but that is not my own ― I spend most of my days here, but I don’t and have never lived on the Northside ― can make me question my role as the managing editor. In each column, I can comment on the content of the paper and notice trends; I think about how conversations on the Northside compare to those that I heard growing up on Madison’s near westside, or where I live now on the eastside. But as NPC celebrates 25 years, it’s a reminder to me that two years is far too brief to get to know a place.

This tension keeps me asking a question that arises when talking to Northside residents, both new and old: in what ways can you support a community that is not your own, particularly in the face of changes that may be beyond its control?

On the Northside, we have ample opportunity to support work led by resident voices on the most local levels: in schools, housing complexes and neighborhoods. When our focus shifts from issues that feel distant and beyond control, and we center the leadership of friends, colleagues and neighbors, making meaningful change seems more possible. This leadership stretches beyond NPC’s history, and there is much more than can fit within the 28 pages of this paper.

This spring, Northsiders organized to stop the elimination of Madison Metro bus stops that serve elderly and disabled residents at Dryden Terrace apartments and families and children at Packers Townhouses. NPC’s April e-newsletter recognized Kim Owens for her work to ensure that their voices were heard. You can sign up for those newsletters by requesting to receive our email edition at

Online this issue, you will find an article about the dedication of students from Sherman Middle School as part of Project Soapbox. Students wrote and performed speeches with powerful calls to action about topics that they care about. I thank them for inviting me into their classroom as a guest judge, to listen to them talk about issues that ranged from gangs, school shootings and police brutality, to gay marriage and LGBTQ rights, the public school system, technology in the classroom and the merits of milk, to adolescent depression, birth control and Black Lives Matter.

There is also an online article about Habitat for Humanity’s recent groundbreaking on a 12-home development on Tennyson Ridge. Last issue’s feature article about business growth on the Northside began to explore the connection between economic development and affordable housing. While the Habitat for Humanity article looks at the difference that access to home ownership can make for a family, Rebecca Kemble’s front page article in this issue examines one challenge that homeowners may face to keeping those homes.

As business booms on the Northside and creates new jobs, one way to keep that economic growth flowing through the community is to buy local. Our theme this issue highlights the impact of your dollar on page 7. Information about upcoming themes is included elsewhere on pages 2 and 3. Please consider contributing.

Two years is a short time to learn but a long time to witness the impact of community leadership. This year, NPC is celebrating the transformations that can occur over a quarter century of local change-making, and those that are just beginning. I appreciate the opportunity to amplify your work in the Northside News.

Northside Planning Council

The mission of the Northside Planning Council is to improve the quality of life and foster equity on the Northside through community organizing and economic development.

Our Major Initiatives

Northside Economic Development Coalition

Northside Economic Development Coalition