Monday, September 28, 2009

Building Community, Neighborhood Style

Lego PeopleImage by Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr

Yesterday we attended the Annual Coolidge Ave. Block Party.  Looking back, I admit that the annual block party sold me on the house that I bought here on Coolidge Ave. back in 1994.  As I came for a final visit with the Realtor, I saw the notice slipped under the door notifying the neighbors that the block party would take place at the end of July.  I wanted to live on a block that had an annual block party... 

Fifteeen years later, it's now held in September; some neighbors moved on, some new neighbors arrived, many have stayed and the food and conversation remain consistently good.

Over the years, we've talked about putting a neighborhood directory together.  Today we talked about it again.  Tonight I came home and logged into Ning.com and began to create a Coolidge Ave. Neighbors social network.  At first, I just wanted a place to post names, addresses and contact information with a picture of each house on the block.  Then I brainstormed and created a number of online groups as part of the network, including:
  1. Neighborhood Watch:  Report information here so we all can keep on eye on crime and work to prevent it on Coolidge Avenue.
  2. Sharing the Backyard Harvest: Don't let your backyard harvests and bumper crops go to waste. Post here to let neighbors know about the fruits and vegetables you can share.
  3. Neighborhood Freecycle: Reuse, Recycle, Freecycle! Don't throw it away ... post here to find your stuff a new home. Your trash could be someone else's treasure.
  4. Helping Hand: Need a helping hand? Able to lend a helping hand? Connect with your neighbors here.
  5. Lost and Found: From pets to possessions, if you lost it or found it post a message here.
  6. Neighbor to Neighbor: A place for neighbors to let each other know about their businesses, services and goods for sale or barter
I am hoping the adage, "If you build it, they will come." will apply to my new neighborhood social network.  I found a surprising number of my neighbors on Facebook and invited them to come and preview my creation and give me feedback.  I hope Coolidge Ave. Neighbors will be up and running in a few weeks.  In the meantime, feel free to copy my group ideas when you create your own neighborhood social network.

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