Building Community in Your Neighborhood

Whether you own your home or rent it, the people nearby matter! Here are the PRG staff’s best ideas on how to connect with—and grow—the community around you.

Tip #1:  What’s Already in Place?
Find your neighborhood organization . Each of the 81 Minneapolis neighborhoods has an organization, and many are already strong and offer lots of opportunities to get involved.

Your neighborhood organization will also be able to connect you with a block club leader, if there is one on your block. If not, consider starting a block or apartment club yourself . This is a way for neighbors to get to know each other and address issues together. And look at this list of creative ideas for block club activities.

Tip #2:   Find Ways to Share
A small act of generosity is a great step toward a strong community. If you can create a way for many neighbors to connect by sharing … even better!

Too busy? How about a dinner swap—partner up with one or several neighbors to trade cooking duties, and end up with less work (and more food) on your plate.

Look for possibilities related to your hobbies and interests: if you’re a bookworm, put up a Little Free Library where neighbors and passersby can swap their favorite reads. If you’re a gardener, plant something edible in your front yard, like berries or cherry tomatoes, and put up a sign inviting neighbors to stop and sample. If you’re healthy and love a good workout, take a few extra minutes on a snowy morning to help a neighbor clear their sidewalk.

Tip #3: Connect Online
The neighborhood forums run by E-democracy can be a great way to hear from and reach out to the folks around you. E-democracy is independent and locally run, and its site is free of advertising. They also list links to other independent, neighborhood-based online meeting places (those using Facebook or Yahoo Groups, for example).

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