- Around the Block
Links are provided to some recently published neighborhood improvement features and stories.
- How Can Crowdfunding Work for My Neighborhood?
Trends in the crowdfunding of community projects are explored and guidelines are provided for utilizing crowdfunding for a project in your neighborhood.
- Trails as Town Squares
Trails are becoming the new town square where people bump into their neighbors, sparking conversations and friendships
- Touring Telluride
A photo tour of the community of Telluride, Colorado.
- Sixteen Neighborhood Improvement Ideas
Neighborhood improvement ideas and projects from around the world.
- Building a Community in Your Neighborhood
Stopping short of becoming a full time community organizer, what can an ordinary person do to foster a greater sense of community within their neighborhood? Plenty.
- Seattle Houseboat Neighborhoods
A vibrant community need not be resting on solid ground. Explored are the unique concerns and ways of life in the floating neighborhoods of Seattle.
- Youngstown Cultural Arts Center
A neighborhood center with an emphasis on arts for youth has become a community mainstay and has developed a means of substantial self support.
- Improving Neighborhoods through Flexible Urbanism
Temporary land uses generate positive interest in an area and support future development.
- Neighborhood Tour
We visit the Mission District in San Francisco, California.
- Food Between Friends
Patricia Erdman’s Food Between Friends program takes a proactive role in identifying those in need who might otherwise go unnoticed.
- Community Gardens
An overview of the community gardens movement in the U.S. and its far-ranging effects on community and individual health and well-being.
- Seattle Gaming Cafe
Gaming parlors are providing a dynamic new focus of community life and new places where everybody knows your name.
- Neighborhood Tour
We visit the Old Tacoma neighborhood in Tacoma, Washington.
- In the Neighborhood...
Linda Silva reviews Peter Lovenheim’s “In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time"
- Neighborhood Summer Camp
The creator of a neighborhood summer camp believes that familiarizing children with their neighborhood is fundamental to improving childhood in America.
- Crowdfunding Goes Hyper-Local
Crowdfunding is now being sucessfully applied to small neighborhood business.
- Around the Block
A link to some current neighborhood improvement features and stories.
- Neighborhood Tour - the Back Bay Neighborhood of Boston
Neighborhood Tour - Back Bay Neighborhood, Boston, Massachusetts
- Its All Happening at the Park
Our parks play a far more important and significant role in community life than many acknowledge or even realize.
- How to Plan a Neighborhood Arts Festival
Arts festivals can be great fun and of tremendous value to the neighborhood. But don’t underestimate the amount of required planning and preparation.
- Starting and Managing Neighborhood Classes
Locally organized classes can be enriching and surprisingly powerful community-building events.
- Good Neighbor Agreements
There are systematic ways of negotiating the relationship between powerful commercial interests and neighborhood residents.
- Rating a Neighborhood
What factors should we consider in rating a neighborhood?
- Neighborhood Tour - Dupont Circle, Washington, DC
A pictorial tour of the Dupont Circle Neighborhood, Washington, DC
- Lifeboat Vashon - An island community prepares for disaster
A model of community preparedness.
- Establishing a Neighborhood Health Care Resource Bank - Part II
Part II outlines steps that we can take, in our communities, to help those without adequate health care locate the already existing local resources.
- Jazz Age to Digital Age, this Montana Theater Beats the Odds
Small movie houses are struggling with the reality of film itself being replaced by digital technology.
- Neighborhood Tour - Sellwood Neighborhood, Portland, Oregon
A pictorial tour of the Sellwood Neighborhood, Portland, Oregon
- How to Design a Neighborhood for Happiness
There is an architectual movement to build new communities and revitalize existing ones by maximizing opportunities for social exchange.
- Bringing Live Theater to Your Community -- a practical guide to starting and running a local theater company
Community theater provides convenient, artistic outlets for those with theatrical talents while bringing live theater to the neighborhood.
- Neighborhood Tour - East End Neighborhood, Alameda, California
A pictorial tour of the East End neighborhood of Alameda, California
- Establishing a Neighborhood Health Care Resource Bank
There are things that we can do, right in our own communities, to help those without adequate health care locate existing, local resources.
- Dinner Co-ops: Recipe for Success
A plan for greatly simplifying at least one dinner a week, while building neighborly bonds.
- Promoting Buy-Local - Part II
There are many ways to actively promote buying locally, but how do we know that we've met our goals? In Part II we look at ways to measure the effects and success of our buy-local campaign.
- Neighborhood Tour - Downtown Pleasanton, CA
A pictorial tour of the downtown neighborhood of Pleasanton, California
- Clearwater Commons
This group of friends went way beyond neighborhood improvement. The have designed their own neighborhood from scratch.
- The Little Library That Could
Libraries are great places to exchange ideas and promote community interaction. But if you don't have an existing library nearby, why not plant one in your front yard?
- Pocket Neighborhoods - Good Things in Small Packages Part II
In Part I, we defined pocket neighborhoods and explored their possiblilities with author and architect Ross Chapin. This time we go inside with a resident who tells us how they came to be enthusiasts and what life is like there…including limitations.
- Promoting Buy-Local
It’s no surprise that local merchants are promoting localism. We all, however, may have much to gain with their success.
- Urbanism Without Effort
Chuck Wolfe tells us why “the best urbanism is that which is already there to be nurtured”.
- Neighborhood tour: Downtown Neighborhood, Ukiah, California
A pictorial tour of the downtown neighborhood of Ukiah, California
- POCKET NEIGHBORHOODS – GOOD THINGS IN SMALL PACKAGES
The way we design our communities plays a huge role in how we experience our lives. Seattle-area architect Ross Chapin believes that groupings of four to twelve households make an ideal community “where meaningful neighborly relationships are fostered.”
- Neighborhood Tours
Some of our most worthy touring attractions may be right down the street. How to create organized tours of your own neighborhood.
- Workparties: Many Hands Make Light Work
Well kept homes are an important part of a great neighborhood. But people with limited resources, skills and time may fill stymied. Consider the benefits of organizing a very small group to cooperatively spruce up your own homes.
- Neighborhood Tour: Walk Streets Neighborhood, Manhattan Beach, California
A pictorial tour of the "Walk Streets" neighborhood of Manhattan Beach, California
- Safe Streets Campaign Empowers Communities
Neighbors take prime responosibility for creating and maintaining a safe neighborhood.
- Neighborhood Volunteerism
How to facilitate volunteerism at very local levels - and why we may want to do so.
- The Center for Neighborhood Technology
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Chicago, CNT is committed to sustainable development and livable urban communities.
- Tour of the Richmond District, San Francisco, Claifornia
A pictorial tour of the Richmond District, San Francisco, California
- Greetings, i-Neighbor
A social network has been created that is devoted to helping geographic communities organize, share information, and work together.
- Is Sharing Contagious? - Zuckerman's Tool Library
What if more people were interested in devising ways to share things with others? They might get some tips by checking out Zuckerman’s Tool Library … based in his garage and apartment.
- Tour of the West Seattle Neighborhood, Seattle, Washington
A pictorial tour of the West Seattle Neighborhood, Seattle, Washington
- West Seattle Blog
A community embraces its award-winning local news and information site
- Nurturing the Neighborhood Economy or Getting off the Money Grid Part II
Part II: Showing ways in which we do have opportunities to step back from the big-money grid and build stronger neighborhood economies
- Buy Local
How there is often the option of buying local…and why we should care
- The Urban Landscape as Farming's New Frontier
Bringing together people who would like their yards used more for farming with people who want to farm
- Second Chances for Homeless Families
The Traditional Family Housing Program in Tacoma, Washington, finds homes for displaced families.
- Nurturing the Neighborhood Economy or Getting Off the Money Grid
We do have opportunities to step back from the big-money grid and build stronger neighborhood economies.
- Farm in the City
Community gardens provide far more than just fresh vegetables.
- Tour of Hawthorne Neighborhood, Portland, Oregon
A pictorial tour of the Hawthorne Neighborhood in Portland, Oregon
- Home Sweet Home Sharing - How Tacoma's Shared Housing Services Changes Lives
Tacoma Washington’s Shared Housing Services provides creative, alternative solutions to housing needs.
Residents in co-housing communities share ownership, resources and a cooperative, community-based life style.
- Neighborhood Communication Systems - Part 2
A survey of the many media available for delivering a message to your neighbors.
- Downtown San Jose neighborhood
A pictorial tour of the Downtown San Jose, California neighborhood
- Writing Local History – Options for Publication and Dissemination
In our Winter edition, we focused on the process of collecting neighborhood histories. Now we examine means of giving neighbors access to your work.
- Neighborhood Communication Systems
A survey of the multiple media options available for exchanging messages among neighbors.
- Button Parks
A park can be small and cute as a button. The author describes how even a small organization may give birth to a park.
- The Niles District
A pictorial tour of the Niles district in Fremont, California.
- A Closer Look at Home – Thoughts on Writing Local History
The process of collecting and organizing a very local history is examined, including strategies for uncovering sources and producing the final product.
- Solutions for Healthier Communities
Communities that have curbed sprawl tend to have lower rates of obesity and chronic illness.
- Where Everyone Knows Your Name
A coffeehouse, pub, barber shop or general store where you can visit anytime and linger…if you’re lucky, you live near one, too.
- Downtown Atlanta Neighborhood Tour
Downtown Atlanta Neighborhood – a Pictorial Tour
- The Blue Mouse
In continuous operation since 1923, this handsome neighborhood movie house found itself drifting toward oblivion. A group of concerned neighbors banded together to save it…and to reestablish a center of life and vitality in their community.
- Legalize Neighborhood Density
Vancouver, Seattle and Portland have taken concrete steps in efforts to create better community by design. Explored, are differing approaches to creating diversity, choice and density in single-family neighborhoods…without building high rises.
- En Masse
What makes a collection of residences a community? Kurt Seaberg relates his own losses and personal observations while giving concrete suggestions for others wishing to obtain or regain a sense of community.
- Irvington Neighborhood Tour
A visual tour of the Irvington neighborhood in Portland, Oregon
- Not Your Grandmother's Library
A library is often seen as a kind of community center in many neighborhoods…hosting meetings and events while providing a variety of valuable resources. There are some aspects of society’s ills, however, which have come to threaten many libraries’ abilities to consistently serve such lofty purposes.
- Neighborhood Activism - for the Less Active
Being active in the neighborhood and contributing to community, need not come only by way of attending meetings and collecting signatures on petitions. A variety of ways are listed in which even the less organizationally inclined can help improve their neighborhood.
- Food with Friends
Human comfort and support can’t get much more basic than the process of mutually feeding each other. One Roanoke, VA neighborhood has developed this notion into an ongoing community event…designed to build community…in the tastiest way possible.
- Neighborhood Tour - Clarendon neighborhood, Allington, Virginia
A visual tour of the Clarendon Neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia
- Arcadia Publishing
A significant publishing empire has developed, over the span of a very few years, whose main purpose is to produce and market intimate journeys into the history of our neighborhoods and small towns. We examine this phenomenon in detail and tell you how you may participate in this process in your own neighborhood.
- Fear and Loathing of Density
Many neighborhood and community advocates make a good case for improving community by increasing density. And yet, when it comes down to actually approving a multi-unit building or commercial development in our own block there is often strong resistance. Trying to ignore the reasons for such resistance has not been an effective approach. Perhaps we must more directly face the underlying concerns and learn how to address them.
- Working in the Neighborhood
Vast amounts of time and energy are spent every day, moving American workers around. It has come to seem as if this is a necessary and natural part of maintaining the economy. And yet there are ways to change this pattern and to save resources, all while using off-the-shelf technology and existing infrastructure.
- Neighborhood Tour - Botany Hills
A pictorial tour of the Cincinnati neighborhood, Botany Hills.
- Starting and Operating a Farmers Market
The experiences of the Seattle-based Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance provide valuable insight and guidance to others considering developing such a market in their own neighborhood.
- Neighborhood Web Sites
Here’s how three Portland, Oregon neighborhoods have made use of the web to enhance community information dissemination and provide extra avenues of interconnection. There are many, equally useful ways of using the web to bring neighbors together.
- Bartering and the Neighborhood Micro Economy –
Bartering demonstrates that we can actually meet many of our needs for goods and services without the use of money. We can also strengthen community and develop some very satisfying relationships that come from dealing with others as equal participants in the neighborhood economy. Beyond this, we may even get some good deals.
- Neighborhood Stories – Congress Heights
Reminiscences and photos of Washington D.C.’s Congress Heights neighborhood.
- A Walk Around Proctor
A stroll around the Proctor neighborhood of Tacoma, Washington, reveals not only a very vibrant and walkable neighborhood, but shows us how we may appreciate our surroundings more by slowing down and taking in the details.
- Neighborhood Newspapers
Circulation and revenues are down for the big daily newspapers. But what of the fate of the neighborhood newspaper? Is it headed for a similar fate?
- NUSA - Neighborhoods USA
A profile of one of the premier, national neighborhood-support organizations.
- Productive Meetings - Part II
In Part I, we discussed the characteristics of healthy groups and organizations. But what if health fails? The most common maladies are identified...along with some good medicine.
- The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project
For decades, residents of San Francisco's Golden Gate Heights neighborhood have been familiar with the old, concrete steps leading up the grassy hillside from 16th Avenue. One day someone looked at them differently...and saw a potential work of art.
- Your Surroundings
Your surroundings can significantly affect your sense of well being as well as both your physical and mental health.
- Productive Meetings - Part I
For a neighborhood organization to accomplish its goals, it must give some attention to maintaining its own health. Organizational health is strongly related to the ability to conduct productive meetings.
- Neighborhood Stories
A long time resident of a Charlottesville neighborhood reflects on the evolution and growth of this community...often in unforeseen directions.
- Concrete Actions
Over-built urban sidewalks may provide unexpected opportunities for reclaiming precious land for gardens…and not just for ornamentals.
- Starting Your Own Local Farmer's Market
Thinking of starting your own neighborhood farmers’ market? These guidelines may save you some time or help you decide if you really want to do this.
- Neighborhood Events for Fun and Fundraising - Part 1
Meet-the-candidates night … pancake feeds … neighborhood tours. Opportunities abound for fun, educational, and even profitable neighborhood events.
- A Neighborhood Story
Another view of life in the projects of Chicago's South Side
- Graffiti Abatement and Management
What are the causes, costs, and consequences of graffiti? How can we plan and engineer its minimization? This urban-planning and management approach to the problem also contains some practical guidelines for keeping our communities as graffiti-free as possible.
- Graffiti Removal
Residents of the Barcroft neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia grew frustrated with the lack of response to their complaints to the city about graffiti and its removal. Their solution: just do it yourself.
- Neighborhood Events for Fun and for Fundraising- Part II
We continue our look at neighborhood events - this time focusing more on those intended to raise funds for the sponsoring neighborhood organization.
- Neighborhood Stories - Memories of Washington Heights
Recollections and reminiscences from the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City.
- Supporting Local Businesses
Before you meander into an online store or cruise out to a big box, consider the advantages of shopping locally.
- Neighborhood Infrastructure - Assessment and Action
The conditions of our nation's major infrastructure components have been receiving much attention of late. But what about the underpinnings of our own neighborhoods?
- Grove Park - Still Growing
The Atlanta neighborhood of Grove Park is blessed with abundant natural beauty. This hasn't stopped the locals from continuously seeking improvements,including the addition of some playful and provocative enhancements.
- A neighborhood Story from Camden, New Jersey
Holding on to your neighborhood, nurturing it, and helping it thrive often produces touching and dramatic stories ... some without the endings we would hope to see.
- Orenco Station - Neighborhood by Design
What can traditional neighborhoods learn from the efforts of urban planners to build a neighborhood from the ground up?
- Clicking on Community
How the web can come to serve as the electronic backyard fence, bringing neighbors together by supplementing traditional means of keeping in touch.
- Slowing Speedy Traffic and Building a Boulevard
The high volume of fast-flowing traffic on a local street was troubling to nearby neighbors. Working together, they came to discover that they could do something meaningful about it.
- Summer Nights on 187th Street
Remembering street life in the Bronx.
The Uptown Neighborhood, in Oakland, California, selected by the American Planning association as one of the Best Neighborhoods of 2014
Strolling through Telluride, Colorado
A houseboat neighborhood on Lake Union in Seattle, Washington
The Proxy Project in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, California
Photo taken in France by Chuck Wolfe and used in the "Sit-able..." article referrenced in Around the Block.
The Old Tacoma neighborhood in Tacoma, Washington
Summer camp on Iris Street in Menlo Park, California
Proctor District Arts Fair, Tacoma, Washington
Dupont Circle Neighborhood, Washington, DC. Photo by Keith Stanley
Sellwood neighborhood, Portland, Oregon
Street fair in East End neighborhood, Alameda, California
Boulevard Grocery in Seattle's Ravenna neighborhood
The Buy-Local campaign in Menlo Park, California
Greenwood Avenue Cottages in Shorline, Washington
Saturday afternoon on Clement Street in San Francisco's Richmond District
The Canal Neighborhood of Venice, California
Hawthorne Avenue, Portland, Oregon
Cover Photo: The downtown San Jose neighborhood
Cover Photo: The Niles District of Fremont, California
Cover Photo: A downtown pond in Atlanta, Georgia.
Cover Photo: The Blue Mouse Theater in the Proctor District of Tacoma, Washington.
Cover Photo: A home in the Willows Neighborhood, Menlo Park, California.
Cover Photo: Parkmerced, a 'high density' neighborhood in San Francisco.
Cover Photo: The Willamette River, as seen from the Linnton Neighborhood in Portland, Oregon.
Cover Photo: A residential street scene in the Proctor neighborhood, Tacoma, Washington.
Cover Photo: The artfully tiled 16th Avenue steps in the Golden Gate Heights neighborhood of San Francisco.
Cover Photo: The vibrant, year-round Murphy Avenue Farmer's Market in Sunnyvale, California
Cover Photo: Fort Tryon Park in the Washington Heights neighborhood, New York City. Photo by Stuart Brorson.
Cover Photo: A Monday morning on 24th Street in Noe Valley, a bustling San Francisco neighborhood filled with an abundance of thriving,local, small businesses.
Cover Photo: Pictured is the Proctor District of Tacoma, Washington with the Pacific Northwest Shop and Knapps Restaurant.