Thanks to you, 2014 was our most successful year to date. Hundreds of thousands of people participated on Neighborland across the U.S. We collectively contributed over 100,000+ hours of action to make our neighborhoods more healthy, vibrant, and sustainable. Thank you for stepping up!
We worked on 25 projects in San Francisco and the Bay Area, partnering with ten city agencies, four universities, and several local non-profits. We launched our first partnerships in Detroit, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. And we continued work in Chicago, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Seattle. Unsurprisingly, our partners continued to challenge us, helping us craft our vision and build more effective tools. In short, we’ve learned a tremendous amount this year, and we’re excited to continue developing our platform to help civic organizations across the U.S.
Here are a few of our favorite partnerships from the past year …
Market Street Prototyping Festival
San Francisco Planning Department, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, The Knight Foundation, Gehl Studio, Exploratorium, Autodesk
We partnered with the City of San Francisco’s Planning Department, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Knight Foundation on the Market Street Prototyping Festival. Fifty project teams were selected to prototype new design solutions for engaging residents in public space. We posted all of the projects on Neighborland, and the design teams shared their process over the 6 month program. Teams unlocked a variety of community assets on Neighborland, including finding space to store their projects, raising additional funds, and sharing their insights from the process.
Over 250,000 residents in the Bay Area participated in the festival on Market Street, and 15,000 people shared their feedback online. All of this data will inform the City’s $450m capital improvement of Market Street in 2018. As SF Planning lead Neil Hrushowy stated, “We believe in public spaces that are about the ideas and aspirations of the public themselves. And not us telling them what they should be aspiring to.”
See all of the festival projects here on Neighborland.
San Francisco State University Strategic Plan
President Leslie Wong led a highly collaborative strategic planning effort at SF State over the past 18 months. The team engaged a diverse set of stakeholders in common areas on campus, at workshops and town halls, through SMS, Twitter, and on Neighborland. The steering committee achieved an unprecedented breadth of engagement with the campus, collecting over 10,000 insights from students, faculty, alumni, and staff about the future of the university.
The committee asked questions included how to improve the university’s physical infrastructure, community, academic programs, and student success. Key insights from the engagement included the importance of mentorship and climate resiliency to the student body. President Wong and his team used the input from their community to develop this draft of the Strategic Plan with specific initiatives for the short-term, mid-term, and long-term.
Here’s a video about the university’s process and the partnership with Neighborland.
Placemaking at Wayne State University
Wayne State University President Roy Wilson and the Office of Economic Development’s launched an innovative placemaking program on campus last fall. The project team engaged over 500 stakeholders at a series of events, and online via SMS, Twitter, and Neighborland. Events included PARK(ing) Day, the WSU Farmer’s Market, Student Org Day, and the homecoming football game. All of this data was aggregated onto Wayne State’s project on Neighborland, and the Office of Economic Development is now testing several community-generated ideas on campus.
Here’s a complete case study of Wayne State’s project.
Pause, Play, Connect in UN Plaza
City of San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), San Francisco Beautiful, University of California Hastings, Tenderloin Economic Development Project (TEDP), Art Institute of California, City of SF Department of Public Works
We provided our real-world and online toolkit for San Francisco Beautiful’s “Pause, Play Connect” program last summer. SF Beautiful was awarded a grant from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s Invest in Neighborhoods program to test new programming ideas in UN Plaza. The goal of the program was to find ways to make the city’s “most underperforming public space” a safer, healthier, vibrant community asset.
Over 1500 neighbors in the Tenderloin and Central Market shared ideas and insights at a public meeting, a voting event in the plaza, and online with SMS, Twitter, and Neighborland. Locals wanted to see activities that brought the diverse groups of people in the neighborhood together, and several ideas rose to the top of the honest and open dialogue — activities for children, film and music, and a night market.
SF Beautiful led the implementation of these ideas with a series called “Pause, Play, Connect” from August to October 2014. Tens of thousands of neighbors have participated in the program, and the Friday Night Market has become a regular event in the plaza.
Learn more about the process and outcomes from this partnership here.
Living Beyond Expectations
The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) “Living Beyond Expectations” project temporarily transformed two blocks of Auburn Avenue in Old 4th Ward into a model Lifelong Community. ARC worked closely with Street Plans and Better Block to design the program model. The project started with a visioning workshop with community leaders. From there, the tactical urban intervention was planned by Street Plans with support from Better Block. All of the ideas were posted on Neighborland, and the team continued to collect ideas for improving the community at the event. This project was generously supported by the Pfizer Foundation.
Learn more about ARC’s project on Neighborland.
Central Market and Tenderloin Community Benefit Agreements
City of San Francisco’s Office of City Administrator, Neighborhood Empowerment Network, Twitter, Zendesk, Spotify, Zoosk
San Francisco City Administrator Naomi Kelly partnered with five Central Market companies (Zendesk, Twitter, Spotify, Zoosk, Yammer) and several local non-profits to collect residents’ insights for the City’s Central Market Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) program. The City hosted two public workshops facilitated by the Neighborhood Empowerment Network, and extended this outreach on SMS and Twitter. With the support of sixteen community partners, the project team collected insights from over a thousand participants who contributed over 80 hours of their time to the project.
All of this data was uploaded to the City Administrator’s project on Neighborland and helped inform the coalition’s decisions of how to allocate resources for local nonprofits as documented in their 2015 CBA Agreements. Furthermore, this rich set of qualitative data has been analyzed by the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) as part of the Central Market/Tenderloin Economic Strategy Update.
Neighborhood Empowerment Network
Miraloma Park Improvement Club, MIT Urban Risk Lab, City of San Francisco Department of Earthquake Preparedness and NERT Program, Ingleside Police Department
We continued our partnership with Neighborhood Empowerment Network(NEN) with projects in Bayview, Miraloma Park, and Diamond Heights. The Resilient Miraloma Park project engaged over a thousand residents in a series of workshops to help the neighborhood be better prepared for challenges like heat waves and earthquakes. NEN partnered with the MIT Urban Risk Lab to design, plan, and facilitate the workshops with the Miraloma Park Improvement Club. We helped facilitate and uploaded all of the asset-mapping and solutions-generation data on Neighborland. This project will result in an action plan later this year.
I Heart Hutch
Hutchinson Community Foundation, City of Hutchinson, Downtown Hutchinson, Hutchinson/Reno County County Chamber of Commerce, Hutchinson Recreation Commission, Reno County, and United Way of Reno County
The Hutchinson Community Foundation launched I Heart Hutch to collect the community’s insights on how to improve their community. Over 700 residents participated at workshops, community events, and online. The Foundation and their partners hosted the Envision Hutch Unconference in March 2015 where seven residents received $15,000 grants to implement their projects. All of the insights collected during this project are being used as a framework for the City of Hutchinson’s Comprehensive Plan, set to start in spring 2015.
Learn more about the Hutchinson Community Foundation’s project on Neighborland.
Our mission is to help all residents shape the development of their neighborhoods. We work with organizations who have clearly demonstrated their commitment to creating healthy, vibrant, and sustainable communities through their past work. Contact us if you’re interested in partnering with Neighborland. Again, a sincere thank you to all of the residents, organizations, and cities who collaborated to make great ideas happen this past year on Neighborland.