The initiative Building Neighborhood Relationships relates to the MAP Initiative 3: Strengthening Pride and Image. Specifically, it relates to Action 4: creating community events. By organizing a series of regularly occurring community social events, residents will come to better know one another and experience a sense of community previously missing from the neighborhood. This initiative was given a low priority level by the residents and students.
Why this is important
This initiative was created through the combination of two, community suggested, initiatives: reducing neighborhood animosity and having more neighborhood events. By combining the two, both goals can be accomplished simultaneously. This leads to a great sense of inclusiveness within the neighborhood and encourages residents to treat one another with respect and dignity as friends or acquaintances, rather than as strangers.
What this will involve
The first step to accomplishing this initiative is to establish a small (3-5 person) committee in charge of organizing events. Rather than putting the burden on a single person, this spreads the workload and allows for a greater sense of ownership of the events.
The second step is to determine what kind of events are desired, locations for those events, and a rough schedule of when these events can take place. Type of event, event location, and the time of year will all play a role in the total cost of events. This step will also require determining the format for events. For example, there could be an entry fee per-person, the requirement to bring a dish of some sort, or simply volunteering time, equipment, or special abilities. More ambitious ideas include pursuing sponsorship or obtaining public funds for events.
Contact information for FUNDING/ASSISTANCE sources
Department of Community Development
300 N. High St. City Hall
Muncie, IN 47305-1639
Phone: (765) 747-4825
Fax: (765) 747-4898
Contact: Terry Whitt Bailey
This initiative is suitable for the entire community. Attendance at events is entirely voluntary. While they may start small, the idea is that word will spread and gatherings will grow to include the entire community.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
The City of Edmonton, Alberta furnishes a comprehensive guide to organizing and planning neighborhood parties. This guide includes in-depth steps to take when planning (including permitting if the event is held on public land, such as a street or park), how to divide the labor,
suggested activities, ways to attract members, holiday party ideas, and suggestions on what sort of event to hold.
More importantly, it provides helpful advice on every step, such as keeping things simple to avoid making it feel like too much work and opting for public land as a location to encourage a sense of community ownership of the event. It also contains checklists for assigning tasks, ordering supplies, and a timeline over which these tasks should be accomplished.
Georgetown publishes what is essentially a scaled down version of the Edmonton guide on their main website. Where it truly stands apart is in the breakdown of proposed activities by age group and the
inclusion of non-party activities that serve as group projects to improve the community.
Examples include activities like public cleanups, painting groups to repair flaking home and fence paint, neighborhood talent shows, and neighborhood fundraising activities. The fundraising option in particular offers a simple and powerful solution to the issue of funding the kind of parties outlined in the Edmonton booklet.