In many communities there are intentional efforts to organize "block clubs" among neighbors. They are often promoted by police departments because neighbors who know each other, watch out for each other. In some communities, neighborhood councils play this role. Because organizers typically have a goal in mind, like "crime prevention," the support materials and systems do not document in detail the wide range of activities block clubs/neighbors can organize among themselves.
With the Neighborly experiment, the open source initiative for nearest neighbor networking, ideas beyond private group messaging have been proposed like being able to securely list tools you have to share or skills you might exchange. To what extent it makes sense to specialize Neighborly with options to support specific block club activities is unknown (will make the website more complex, people might use the general tool anyway), but here is the list of potential activities to inspire our deliberations.
This list was drafted by Jim Diers, the author of Neighbor Power and former head of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods. Steven Clift, with E-Democracy.org, met Jim at a Recentering Democracy conference about local communities in February 2010.
Suggestions for Block Activities
Add more below to this wiki page.
- Crime prevention
- Emergency preparedness
- Block parties
- Skills exchanges
- Share tools, pickup truck, camping equipment, etc.
- Buy in bulk
- Policy discussions
- Support for latchkey kids
- Support for housebound seniors
- Support for one another
- Create community garden on vacant lot or someone’s yard
- Create pocket park on vacant lot or someone’s yard
- Install benches, picnic tables or other community furniture in front yards
- Improve/maintain common spaces: alley, median, park traffic circle, etc.
- Paint mural in intersection
- Plant street trees
- Provide base for neighborhood association
- Slow traffic with signs/art
- Create placards for doorway of each home representing that family
- Create website for block
- Create a manifesto of block values and commitments to one another
- Create a directory of available expertise (recycling, technology, etc)
- Create a green block in which each household commits to reducing carbon footprint
- Conduct a talent show
- Celebrate Good Neighbor Day by recognizing good deeds
Add what you know a block club or a group of neighbors has done somewhere:
- Monitor/aggregate/map local municipal services and police data on crime and property issues using city sources and spotcrime.com
- Meet with local police district captain, liaison officers, alderman
- Discuss and participate in local planning, zoning and licensing issues
- Outdoor movie night
- Kids activities
- Parents network/facilitate baby sitting swapping
- Play groups for dads
- Play groups for kids of certain ages
- Gather for Christmas Carols
- House concerts
- Tailgate for major sports games, either on TV or in person
- Shovel snow planning
- Trash bash (pick up trash on streets)
- Graffiti removal (paint over tags and vandal marks)
- Candidate nights (coffee with one or more candidates)
- Roving Party, pub crawl, moving pot luck, a HOUSE TOUR with food.
- Game night(s). Bingo, chess, checkers, board games, card games (bridge club).
- Car wash.
- Joint yard sale, swap meet, flea market.
- Book group (discussions after all read the same book - or even article)
- Swarm for Geo-Mapping and GIS Tagging
- Linux Install Fest (bring by an older PC and reformat it with Linux, OpenOffice.org, etc.)
- Easter Egg Hunt (roll if on Pennsylvania Ave in DC)
- Fire truck and EMS (ambulance) visit. Officer friendly outreach with public safety folks as they bring their gear to examine.
- Visit with Santa Claus, grab bag, secret friends, stocking swap, light-up night.
- Urban hike, trek, tramp. Walk sidewalks, steps, interesting routes, up hills, up buildings, inside buildings, through malls, etc.
Please add links to block club guides and other useful resources.
- Block Parties via Our Blocks
- Block party guide - Oakland, PDF
- National Night Out
- National Night Out - Resources and Ideas
- Neighbor.be - The open source "neighborly" exploration
- KaBOOM! Play Day Planner - A free planning tool for neighborhood play days with downloadable flyers, games and activities