Neighborland’s design structure has changed quite a few times since this blog’s first survey of their business (https://neighborlandisnotaneighbor.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/a-hacker-and-a-hustler-candy-chang-her-partners-projects-and-products/) yet they remain keen on tweeking their product. One attempt to self-validate Neighborland’s brand representation as a community actor is an update feature now posted on past “wants” that show demonstrable progress.

Feeding off the buzz of efforts already in motion, on May 22, 2011 New Orleans Neighborland’s Alan Williams suggested the “want” of a renovated Circle Food Store.

A few weeks before, in early April 2011, The Louisiana Weekly reported on Mayor Landrieu’s Fresh Food Retailer Initiative, and interviewed the owner of Circle Food Store, a hopeful Dwanye Boudreaux, who looked to the new program for his store’s renovation. http://www.nolabeez.org/article/2011-0406-the-louisiana-weekly-mayor-announces-14m-investment-in-fresh-food-access

In July 2011, The Len’s reported that Boudreaux had spent years “petitioning the city” for assistance. http://thelensnola.org/2011/07/21/circle-food-store-7th-ward-neighborhood-center/

But in Decemeber 2012 and February 2013 Neighborland prefaced two updates on their Circle Foods renovation page with the suggestion that Neighborland co-owner Dan Parham and New Orleans Community Manager Alan Williams (both living in San Francisco) had somehow “Made it Happen.” https://neighborland.com/ideas/nola-seventh-ward-circle-foods-renovated

Williams’ December progress report was a link to a Times-Picayune story on Circle Foods finally securing the necessary funds to begin its long anticipated renovation.

And in February 2013, Parham’s progress report for Neighborland users was a link to Mayor Landrieu’s press release heralding Circle Food’s groundbreaking.

But what did Parham and Williams make happen? Posting links to news articles?

Neither of the two Neighborland representatives had any recognizable role in the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative.

In fact, the article Williams shared recounts the story of who did make Circle Food Store’s renovation happen:

“After more than seven years of frustration, false hope and dead ends, Dwayne Boudreaux this week finally lined up all the money he says he’ll need to rehabilitate and reopen the Circle Food Store in the 7th Ward. The financing includes federal new market tax credits, federal and state historic tax credits, funds from the state Office of Community Development, $1 million from the city’s Fresh Food Retailer Initiative and $100,000 from the city’s Economic Development Fund, for a total of $8 million.

http://www.nola.com/business/index.ssf/2012/12/circle_food_store_secures_fund.html?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews

It’s nice that Neighborland shares media content about the work of others, but their chosen format is confusing and overtly suggests their own company’s efforts are somehow responsible for the progress they report.

Will potential Neighborland users in other cities searching for demonstrable (if barely scrutinized) proof of the company’s effectiveness be reassured by Neighborland’s self-congratulatory claims of making things happen? Is this a business model? Stamping one’s brand on other groups’ projects?

In July 2012 Dan Parham “shared” another “resource,” a link announcing the St. Roch Market’s groundbreaking. Is Neighborland insinuating their efforts of recruiting 26 ‘neighbors’ to the cause was the impetus for the City of New Orleans to respond? An orange banner swaths the upper right hand corner of Parham’s post: “Made it Happen” https://neighborland.com/ideas/nola-st-roch-the-city-to-do-something

What, exactly, did Neighborland make happen?

Beats me.

(Note to new readers: Neighborland was partially spawned by Civic Center’s co-owner, Candy Chang)

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