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The Story of Livability Lab
Check out the amazing work done by the amazing Muskegon County community! Learn all about it with our mini-magazine booklets and videos documenting the journey:
View the original Livability Lab booklet (it's posted further down the page) and watch the 24-minute video documentary capturing the remarkable moments of Livability Lab 1.0. Be sure to watch all the way through the credits for community interviews!
Link: Livability Lab 1.0 Documentary Video
You can also relive the entire Livability Lab 1.0 Celebration, all on video and starring the COMMUNITY who brought the Action Teams to life! January 23, 2020 Celebration Video
View Livability Lab 2.1 Booklet (includes Covid Relief Fund reports and covers Oct-Nov-Dec 2020 activity).
View booklet "The Story of Livability Lab" and watch the full "Story of Livability Lab" video (starring our Livability Lab host Mickey Wallace) here. Booklet includes reports for Livability Lab 2.0.
REGISTRATION FOR LIVABILITY LAB 3.0 OPENS SEPT 12. Submit your name and email in form below to ensure you're first to receive the announcement.
The Muskegon Livability Framework summarizes the community’s goals related to creating a system that ensures livability for all Muskegon County residents. The Livability Elements (in blue) represent what people need to thrive and prosper in Muskegon County. The Community Conditions (in orange) represent what needs to be in place across the county to promote the Livability Elements and achieve the Vision. Download the Framework below to access clickable links to explore the elements, conditions, and root causes in depth.
A fundamental goal of a Community Health Innovation Region is the engagement of all sectors of a community to identify ways to improve local health and well-being. A unique highlight of this effort in Muskegon County has been the Livability Lab: Muskegon's 100-day Challenge. Now that the teams are finished with their aggressive 100-day process, we thought you might like to learn a little more how this exciting initiative came to be.
Planning and implementing the Lab required many months of work. Led locally by an eight-member Design Team the first objective of the team was to create a vision that would frame the work of the Lab. Using community-based information gathered through local surveys, focus groups, presentations, and community feedback, a vision evolved that would subsequently frame all of the work of Challenge: Creating a system that ensures livability for all Muskegon County residents. Community feedback was a critical part of this planning as the vision needed to be one that all community members could embrace and where they could see a role for themselves.
This then, was an audacious goal. While the 100-day Challenge model has been used in other cities and regions across the nation, such a broad and inclusive vision has never been attempted. Other communities would typically tackle a certain sector or one specific issue, such as a focus on high school graduation rates. But, not us. We were going to acknowledge the big, interconnected picture - all things needed for optimum livability. Muskegon County has, is, and always will be bold, willing to take risks, and ready to do things differently.
Would it work? The Design Team next sought additional input and support. To be inclusive requires the engagement of many diverse partners and voices from throughout the community. This part of the process began with the engagement of a cross-sector advisory group for the Labwe call the Core Team. Representing key leaders from throughout the county, the Core Team not only provided advisory support but also mobilized endorsement from Muskegon County businesses, government, neighborhoods and numerous health, education, and human service organizations.
Resident engagement, fundamental to the Lab’s success, continued. Building off the earlier CHIR success of the South Heights Photovoice Initiative and other neighborhood development efforts, residents were engaged through aggressive team-based outreach. From Muskegon Heights to Montague; North Muskegon to Ravenna, Design Team staff and members of the CHIR Board targeted every possible venue from church congregations to senior nutrition sites and area media to get the word out.
And finally, to create the structure necessary for what would ultimately support 19 separate Challenge Teams, local Coaches were recruited to help. Many dedicated individuals signed on to serve as Coaches for Labteams when approached. These Coaches were subsequently trained with the help of our partners at Michigan State University, and are now helping to guide our Challenge Teams through the decision-making process.
All of this extensive work paid off when September 10 finally arrived. The Livability Lab launch was at maximum capacity, with 340 people in attendance. Over 150 of these individuals subsequently stepped forward to participate in our 19 Challenge Teams. This number was unprecedented, and showed that Muskegon County was already there - ready to take bold steps forward, build off the existing energy and momentum, and accelerate it all to do something amazing together.
Visitors from the State of Michigan’s SIM (State Innovation Model) team were also in attendance, and the buzz about Muskegon made its way back to Lansing. To share both statewide and beyond the good work of Livability Lab, a film crew from Public Sector Consultants in Lansing is now in the process of creating a short documentary highlighting our Challenge Teams and telling the Muskegon. At the January 23rd Challenge Celebration event, the attendees (another full house) got a chance for a sneak peek of the documentary in the making, and were invited to the stage to talk on camera to possibly be included in the final film (see the link to the film at top of page).
The success of Livability Lab led to Livability Lab 2.0 and 2.1. We learned that the skills and relationships acquired during 1.0 applied when faced with a sudden public health crises. For details on all three Labs, see booklet reports posted above.
One thing is for sure, we can all be very proud of the groundbreaking work we are doing together. It's innovative, it's different, it's inclusive, it's important, and for those reasons and more, it's getting good attention. Let's show them how it's done, Muskegon.
Attendees at the Livability Lab launch viewed the photographs and stories presented in this compelling exhibition. View the exhibition booklet, with photos and stories, here:
The Community Health Innovation Region (CHIR) and many others convened a 100-Day Challenge Summit, the Livability Lab, on September 10, 2019 to bring together individuals and groups from every sector throughout our county to mobilize around a common vision of livability.
The CHIR has chosen to focus the 100-Day Challenge process on creating a system where all Muskegon County residents have access to good health and well-being; and, that our community will not only thrive, but that all residents and families will have the opportunity to individually prosper and reach their full potential.
Livability (noun): Livability is the sum of the factors that add up to a community’s quality of life—including the built and natural environments, economic prosperity, social stability and cohesion, healthcare, educational opportunity, and cultural, entertainment and recreation possibilities.
As Muskegon grows, how do we create a county where everyone can thrive? Read more....
Muskegon's 100-Day Challenge interview with Shelley Irwin of The Morning Show. Listen here...
Muskegon aims to address livability in 100 days. Read/view more...
The Livability Lab - Muskegon's 100 Day Challenge interview with Andy O'Reilly. Read/view more....
Muskegon County launches second livability challenge. Read more...
One hundred days, 19 teams, one audacious vision. Read/view more...