One focus of this week’s asset mapping workshop in Starke County was identifying how local communities interact with one another and outside entities. Stellar Project Manager Michael Sinnet discussed the difference between horizontal relationships and vertical relationships and how they inevitably work together.
The best way to describe a horizontal relationship is that it is a continuous process where local perspectives are being gathered to meet a common goal.
Sinnet gave the cyclical example of how a governmental body communicates a need to social services and how those officials then communicate with the public to learn how to best provide valuable resources and then the public communicates with the government about the effectiveness.
For a vertical relationship, He highlighted OCRA’s Stellar Community Program because it’s a relationship where a community or region is working with the state to obtain opportunities and funding.
Sinnet emphasized that it’s essential for communities to identify their core values and beliefs prior to engaging in serious interactions with outside entities to keep external influences from driving local conversations and development plans.
He said that realizing the importance of having cohesive horizontal relationships at the local level will, in turn, lead to positive vertical relationships where the community can speak for itself when it comes to important decisions about development and the future.