There are plenty of simple things everyday citizens can do to reenliven their local communities – techniques to engage with your neighbors, revitalize your street, and improve everyone’s quality of life.
It’s easier than you’d think. The Neighbors Project has compiled a set of checklists of simple actions you can take to be more neighborly – from tasks as easy as saying hello to your neighbor, to more involved weekend or seasonal projects, like organizing a block party or community garden. PPS’s own Great Neighborhood Book is packed full of creative ideas for creating fun, safe, vibrant communities – inspired projects carried out by real people – that run the gamut from printing up neighborhood T-shirts, to (literally) tearing down backyard fences, to creating enjoyable public places in local cemeteries. Many of the projects in the Great Neighborhood Book are very low-cost, sustainable, and use only local resources and the brainpower of community members.One example: the Meridian Hill community in Washington, DC, made efforts to improve the usability of its local park, which had a dangerous reputation. The community organized a simple, inexpensive park cleanup, filling over 400 bags with trash. Motivated by this success, the group went on to organize a series of arts events in the park. Within a few years, park crime had dropped by 95 percent, and park use quadrupled!The Internet also holds lots of promise to help communities create real connections and share local knowledge. Check out Placeblogger’s network of local blogs, or EveryBlock’s news feed of information about your city. You can also share your best community placemaking ideas, stories, and questions by joining the Great Neighborhoods group at The Placemaking Movement, PPS's own social network for placemakers.
Do-it-yourself placemaking in your community makes good economic and environmental sense – but even more importantly, it helps you create a truly great place you’ll be proud to call home.