Recommended resources from our Community Empowerment survey

in Best practices in community empowerment

Recap of our Best practices in Community Empowerment series.

We created a page to list those resources that were recommended to us by these friends of Our Blocks who helped us prepare for the “Someone’s Done That Already: the Best Practice of Using Best Practices” session of the Craigslist Foundation Boot Camp on Empowering Communities.

Thanks again to Kevin Harris, Richard Layman, Diane Dyson, Matt Singh, Christina Holt, Colin Gallagher, Lisa Palmer, Julian Dobson, Kevin Harris again, Mat Dryhurst, David Crowley, Barbara Pantuso, Paul Lamb, Rebecca Sanborn Stone, and Brian Fier.

Click on the image to see the full Recommended Resources page.

Recommended Resources

in Best practices in community empowerment

These resources were recommended by these Contributors who participated in our Best Practices in Community Empowerment project. The descriptions below are mainly direct quotes from the Contributors. You can browse all the articles in this series here. Click here to view all resources in our database, and to recommend your own.

More to follow …

Building community and improving neighborhoods, by Barbara Pantuso

in Best practices in community empowerment

12th in our Best practices in Community Empowerment series.

Barbara Pantuso (@barbarapantuso) is Founder and CEO of Hey, Neighbor!, a location-based website and mobile app that connects neighbors, and creates a new marketplace for neighborly sharing of “MicroFavors”. Rachel Botsman called it “a great example of how technology creates both the efficiency and the social glue for trust to form between strangers”. Barbara follows many blogs and articles that focus on community building and improving neighborhoods. Many of the resources she shares below are about how & why neighbors connect. Topics include the social, safety, government, civic, public space, and environmental aspects of a community.

Yes! Magazine – Search for keyword “Neighborhood“. Many great articles and real world examples of neighborhood building stories. Also practical “how to” tips. Like their tagline says “Powerful ideas, practical actions”

Citizens Handbook - Practical Assistance for Those Who Want to Make  a Difference – An online handbook  published by the Vancouver Community Network (VCN), a non-profit Internet service provider that provides free services to assist individuals, community groups and non-profit organizations in accessing and utilizing the Internet to its fullest ability.

Hey, Neighbor! - Hey, Neighbor! is a network for trusted neighbor connections and collaboration. It’s like a local Facebook meets a safer Craigslist for your neighborhood.

Many people still don’t know their neighbors. But now more than ever, people want a sense of community. For many, a knock on the door can be inconvenient or intimidating. That’s where Hey, Neighbor! comes in. It provides a virtual knock on the door and a simple way for neighbors to exchange favors, information, goods and services.

Hey, Neighbor! challenges the notion that “good fences make good neighbors.” By reaching across the virtual fence, Hey, Neighbor! connects neighbors in ways that helps them feel happier and more secure, and that helps neighborhoods thrive.

Michael Wood-Lewis/Ghost of Midnight – Great Blog by the Founder of Front Porch Forum in VT – a well used site and leader in online neighbor networks.

Kevin Harris/Neighbourhoods – UK Blog about neighborhoods – very active blogger. Lots of great real-world examples and stories.

Next up: Paul Lamb

Compendium for the Civic Economy – a review by Kevin Harris

in Best practices in community empowerment

11th in our Best practices in Community Empowerment series.

This review of the Compendium for the Civic Economy is reposted here (with some addenda) with permission of Kevin Harris. Click here to subscribe via rss to his Neighbourhoods blog.

OK you need to commit a few minutes to this, please, cos it really is a bit special. Yesterday saw the launch of the Compendium for the civic economy [80MB pdf]. I’m tempted to write, ‘and the rest is history’ and leave it at that.

Speaking at the launch at NESTA, Tom Bolton, from the Centre for Cities, raised the question of how you describe an economy when its distinguishing feature is its ways of working (and, I would add, its values) rather than in terms of traditional business sectors.

The compendium gets at the question, what are the economics of localism? I think it’s possibly the most important document I’ve had my hands on so far this century. It was prepared by the ever-dependable Indy Johar, Joost Beunderman and their colleagues at 00:/.

It records and celebrates a number of examples of civic entrepreneurship, and reflects on their significance for our understanding of how people who are not part of formal public services, and not part of the traditional private sector, are making a difference to civic and social conditions, by coming up with transformational projects and involving others in carrying them through. Some of the examples are already well-documented, and justifiably so, like Incredible Edible Todmorden and Southwark Circle. There are 25 described in the book.

Now I want to quote from the second of the authors’ six key messages, on page 169, which sums up why this matters. But I can’t copy and paste it, because for some reason someone has decided to disallow content copying on the pdf – which is obviously hugely ironic given that the text extols initiatives that promote sharing and collaboration.

The heading for this second message is (and I type): ‘Civic entrepreneurship can actively contribute to increasing the resilience, prosperity and well-being of people, places and communities’.

[in his blog, Kevin left gaping holes where the quotes would be, to make the point that a document on sharing and collaboration probably shouldn't be locked. That's very funny, if you're British, but I'm not, so am posting below, in itals, the passages that I think Kevin meant to quote]

Julian Dobson: Gather and share, gather and share

in Best practices in community empowerment

Eighth in our Best practices in Community Empowerment series.

Julian Dobson (@JulianDobson) is director at Urban Pollinators Ltd, and co-founder of Our Society. He is also author of Living with Rats, founding editor of New Start magazine, Fellow of the RSA, and a voluntary board member at the Centre for Local Economic Strategies. David Barrie of the British Council’s Creative Cities program said: “Behind the scenes of urban renewal in the UK, Julian is a major player, innovating social action, ideas around placemaking and bringing people together to make change in new, profitable, human ways.” Responding to my request that he share some of his favorite resources on “best practices” in community empowerment, Julian said “If I’d got my act together and responded earlier I’d say just what Kevin Harris has done – only he’s done it much better.” These are the sites he recommended for this series, and why:

Out of the Ordinary – A book by David Robinson, founder of Community Links in east London. It spells out his experience of and vision for relationship-based approaches to work with families, children and young people. The e-book is available as a free download. (You can read Julian’s review of this book here).

Incredible Edible Todmorden – A project rather than a resource, but its experience shows just what ordinary people can do to address environmental issues through the shared experience of growing and producing local food. The website gives a flavour of their vision, achievements and the reasons why they are attracting international interest.

Meanwhile Space – Another UK resource (sorry folks) but again highly relevant internationally, though the law is obviously applied differently in different countries. Meanwhile Space is a project that started with finding new uses for empty shops during the recession of 2008-9 and is continuing on a broader scale. It shows how local people can move in where retailers have failed and how temporary or ‘meanwhile’ projects (pop-up projects as they’re often known) can change the look and feel of an area and help prevent blight.

Any thoughts/stories on the practice of hoarding/sharing best practices?

Gather and share, gather and share.

Next up: Mathew Dryhurst of LikeMinded