How to set up your Neighborland home page

Neighborland
Your home page provides the latest updates on ideas you support, your friends’ activity, and popular ideas in your city.

1. Sign In to Neighborland

When you sign up, you set your home city. When you first sign in, you’ll see ideas in your city and nearby.

2. Follow people

Follow people to see their latest ideas and contributions. On your computer, you can mouse over a person and click “Follow”. On your mobile device, you can click on a person and then click “Follow”.

3. Add or support an idea

Click the big green “Me Too” button when you see an idea you like! Anytime you add or Me Too an idea, you’ll see when others support it or propose an action such as a fun event, useful news, or a way to solve the problem.

How to propose an action

When you Sign In to Neighborland, every idea page asks: “How can you help?” Directly below, you’ll find an input field for adding a resource, petition, event, or fundraiser.

Here’s how to each action works:

1. Share Resource
Share information and links to projects, places and people that are already working to make an idea happen.

Example – Jake shares a link to the appropriate contact at City Hall:

handbook_actions_2

2. Share Petition
Share a petition that neighbors can take action on to address this issue. We will display links to Change.org, Causes, and other sites nicely for you.

Example – Emily shares a petition for a city-wide campaign:

3. Create Event
Post details for a new or existing meeting. Include a date, time, location and purpose of the meeting.

Example – Eric sets up a meeting to help improve local bike safety:

4. Share Fundraiser
Share a fundraiser that neighbors can contribute to. We will display links to Kickstarter, Neighbor.ly, Rally, and other sites nicely for you.

Example – Ava shares a fundraiser for project in her neighborhood:

 

SCMS helps reforest the St. Claude corridor in New Orleans.

Live Oaks along St. Claude Avenue

Idea:
NOLA neighbors want big green trees on St. Claude Avenue.

Action:
St. Claude Main Street donates $2500 to the “Reforest St. Claude” project and canvasses the corridor to identifying businesses that may want to buy a tree to go in front of their building.

The Reforest St. Claude Project:
St. Claude Main Street (SCMS) is partnering with Parkway Partners and other neighborhood organizations on the “Reforest St. Claude” project. As part of the Parkway Partner’s ReLeaf program, this tree planting effort along St. Claude Avenue seeks to achieve a goal of two Live Oaks per block from St. Bernard to Poland Avenue — a roughly 2 mile stretch in the Marigny, St. Roch, and Bywater neighborhoods of New Orleans.

This community-based initiative is working to restore the Live Oak canopy that once lined the city corridor. Live Oaks are an iconic part of New Orleans and are well suited for standing up to hurricanes and urban conditions, sometimes living over 300 years. The restoration effort will enhance the quality of life in these neighborhoods – improving air quality, reducing heat, and helping manage stormwater runoff.

Live Oaks along St. Claude Avenue

Live Oaks along St. Claude Avenue in 1953. Source: parkwaypartnersnola.org

Renovations at St. Claude Ave and St. Roch Ave

Renovations at St. Claude Ave and St. Roch Ave.

St. Claude Main Street is identifying businesses that may want to buy a tree to go in front of their building for the first phase of the project which will focus on the space between the street and sidewalks. For the first twenty St. Claude businesses to sign-up, SCMS will split the cost of the tree package, reducing the total cost to $125.

“We’re excited to be working with Parkway Partners and St. Claude businesses to plant live oaks along St. Claude Avenue. Our city is a hot one for a large portion of the year; we hope that by providing more shade on St. Claude Avenue people will choose to spend more of their days walking along the street and supporting the local economy.”Michael Martin, SCMS Manager

Residents can also volunteer to help by adopting a tree to plant and/or maintain.

» View a map of St. Claude tree plantings up for adoption.

 

Mike & Justin host a mapping party to locate DIY street seats in NYC.

mappingparty1

Idea:
16 neighbors want a collaborative mapping party to map street seats in Manhattan.

Action:
After creating StreetSeats.org, Mike Lydon and Justin Brandon used Neighborland to gauge interest in a mapping party, and then planned a group event to map DIY seating in lower Manhattan.

mappingparty2

Mike & Justin’s Story:
Both Mike and Justin had been pondering the idea of a web tool for mapping New York City’s many inventive, creative, and otherwise colorful street seats for several years before they decided to tackle the project together. Both trained as urban planners, they recognized the DIY attitude that New Yorkers take to providing sidewalk seating options for each other as a unique trait that adds a great deal of character to the cityscape. From businesses setting out all manner of benchery to snag tired passersby in front of window displays, to residents building tree stands with flat shelves for sitting and chatting with their neighbors, New York’s street seats are as diverse as they are ubiquitous.

mappingparty3

After launching the site, which allows anyone to snap a pic of a street seat, document its location, and submit it to the site for inclusion on the citywide map, Justin & Mike wanted to host a mapping party to jump-start the documentation process. With more than 6,000 miles of street in New York; that translates to quite a lot of seats! They used Neighborland to test the waters, and after getting a strong initial response from the city’s amateur cartographers, organized an event on Saturday, April 6th.

mappingparty4

About two dozen mappers gathered in Union Square on what happened to be the first true spring Saturday, and after a quick round of instructions from Mike & Justin on how to document street seats (and what constitutes a DIY seat vs. an official, city-sanctioned bench or sidewalk cafe table seating, which don’t count for the project’s purposes) each received a chunk of the city and headed out in small groups for a few hours of fun in the sun.

mappingparty5

In all, the group documented more than a hundred street seats around the city in just one afternoon! Afterward, everyone gathered at The Magician, a bar on the Lower East Side, to drink some beers, chat with some other map geeks, and watch a slideshow of the many photos snapped of street seats around lower Manhattan that afternoon.

Wish you could have made it? After the success of the first event, Justin & Mike are already planning on hosting a second; after all, there’s a lot of city left to map!

» Show your support for mapping parties in Manhattan & receive updates on future events.

 

N-Judah Project collects hundreds of ideas in San Francisco.

NJudah Project

Question:
How can we beautify the N-Judah Turnaround?

Action:
To build strong support for the beautification of a busy street corner, a coalition of community groups and city agencies use Neighborland to build awareness and capture residents’ input.

NJudah Project

The N-Judah Project’s Story:
The corner of La Playa Street and Judah Street is a lively area in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset district where the public transit Muni line meets up with Ocean Beach, known as the N-Judah Turnaround.

NJudah Project

In 2012, a coalition of residents, community groups, and several city agencies formed the N-Judah Turnaround Beautification Project to beautify the immediate area surrounding the N-Judah Turnaround and further establish the neighborhood as a distinct community.

NJudah Project

To bring more voices to the project, input was collected in a variety of ways: on the street, at local meetings, by text messages, and online. And to accommodate this diverse community’s large population of Cantonese speakers, additional Cantonese flyers were distributed.

NJudah Project

Ideas ranged from large to small. Many focused on ways to bring more vibrancy and greening to the intersection with improvements including art murals, outdoor seating, and gardens.

NJudah Project

NJudah Project

The input collected for the N-Judah Project was used by a community-led design workshop. Over 60 neighborhood residents working together in small groups, with the help of volunteer professional architects and designers, developed several design maps for the street corner using Crowdbrite Canvas.

Because of the exceptional outreach program and considerable community involvement, San Francisco’s Supervisor Carmen Chu gave a Recognition of Commendation for Community Service to the N-Judah Project’s members. More importantly, she announced that her office would be allocating $15k towards the N-Judah Project.

NJudah Project

» See popular ideas for the N-Judah Turnaround

 

Neighbor Q&A: Stephen Goldsmith

Interview with Stephen Goldsmith, Director of Center for the Living City

In 2005, The Center for the Living City was founded by a small group of urbanists, in collaboration with Jane Jacobs. The Center builds on the work of Ms. Jacobs, promoting increased civic engagement and understanding of urban life to new generations.

The Center sponsors a program called Jane Jacobs Walk, self-organized walking tours throughout the world. We caught up with Stephen Goldsmith, Director of the Center for the Living City, to find out why the walks were started and what happens when people share the experience.

Stephen Goldsmith

Tell us about the Center for the Living City and why it was founded.

We founded the Center with the support and encouragement of Jane Jacobs, prior to her death in 2006, as a way to advance her observations with new generations of engaged citizens. Our founding board members include the journalist and author Roberta Brandes Gratz and this year’s Jane Jacobs Medal winner, Ron Shiffman, as well as many other committed practitioners. We all felt that Jane Jacobs’ legacy of the power of observation, community based and participatory planning, and the importance of self-organization, fit perfectly with what we see is needed to heal and repair the places we, and others, care about.

What brought about the Jane Jacobs Walks?

We decided to join our sister organization in Toronto, The Centre for City Ecology when they began the program. One of their brilliant board members, Margie Zeidler, who is also on our board, was a long-time friend of Jane Jacobs and winner of the Jane Jacobs Prize herself. The opportunity arose to offer ways for people in the US to celebrate the ideas of Jane Jacobs, connect people with their places and each other, and through them, deepen their care and engagement in communities.

This has become an important teaching tool in our Department of City & Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah. Through our passionate and talented students, we’re able to reach out to communities everywhere with the opportunity for them to walk and discover more about their places, and at the same time reach into the minds of our students and cultivate their understanding of how we create, restore and regenerate neighborhoods, streets, sidewalks, trails–any places that people value.

During Jane Jacobs Walks, neighbors from around the country walk together through the neighborhood they share. What happens when people share that experience, and their observations?

Its always fascinating to hear the stories about what happens during and after these walks (and sometime even bike rides). For instance, we recently learned that the non-profit publisher of our book, What We See: Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs, met someone during Jane Jacobs Walk last year. They went for coffee after the walk and are actually moving in with each other this April. So that’s a very personal “happening” as a result of a walk. We also have stories about people who didn’t know about Jane Jacobs’ work or about community based planning processes who have decided to go into the field of Urban Ecology, Urban Design and Planning, and still others who have discovered places in their neighborhoods they didn’t know existed before the walks.

We’re now seeing young students–elementary school age students–engaged in walks, and we’ve partnered with the Children and Nature Network to introduce kids to the ideas of Jane Jacobs and connect with one another. We also have a powerful partner in Glenna Lang, a children’s book writer whose book Genius of Common Sense: Jane Jacobs and the Story of The Death and Life of Great American Cities is a delightful introduction to powers of observation. Observation is really the central them of these walks and the self-organizing events that follow form the possibilities for change in neighborhoods everywhere.

What are the ingredients of a great Jane Jacobs Walk?

The essential ingredients are people who care passionately about their places, who want to share what they see, hear, taste and know, and also love to listen to those who join them on their Jane Jacobs Walks. Importantly, these are just ingredients, not formulas, as every walk is as unique as the people who guide them.

Among urban planners and community advocates, Jane Jacobs is a remarkably influential figure–but why is Jacobs’ legacy relevant to the average person that just wants to make their block a little better?

Jacobs’ illuminated the fact that we’re all planners, stewards of our places. She empowered citizens of every age and background to realize that the top-down planning approaches, that so often undermined the health of our neighborhoods, could be transformed when citizens participate fully in shaping the future of their places. Whether it’s in the realm of preservation, the creation of local businesses, diversity of use, economic strategies that give people ownership of their futures, or just appreciating the ballet of the street, as she wrote about so eloquently, her legacy opens doors to understanding the ways our cities work. By observing cities as organic systems and when we see ourselves as engaged members of our urban ecology, as essential, creative animals shaping our places, we can make our blocks and the people within them healthier, more sustainable and exuberant places.

Jane Jacobs Walk is now using Neighborland to help you organize your own walks:
Start by adding or supporting a Jane Jacobs Walk in your city.

 

Project Homeless Connect asks for new ideas

Project Homeless Connect

On Wednesday, March 20th, Neighborland attended the 48th Project Homeless Connect (PHC) event to begin collecting ideas for helping people experiencing homelessness. The event, held in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium near San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza, is part of Project Homeless Connect’s series of local programs to serve the homeless of San Francisco with holistic services. The event offered thousands of clients medical exams, identification cards, information on benefit programs, employment services, food and more.

Project Homeless Connect

Hundreds of volunteers helped Project Homeless Connect provide holistic care to the homeless in SF.

In partnership with PHC and San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology and Innovation (Sf.Citi), Neighborland will be hosting an open discussion on how to further help those experiencing homelessness in San Francisco.

Alex Tourk, Managing Director of Sf.Citi, at the 48th Project Homeless Connect

Alex Tourk, Managing Director of Sf.Citi, at the 48th Project Homeless Connect

Sf.Citi has announced its philanthropic focus this year will be supporting the efforts of Project Homeless Connect. Homelessness has long been a major challenge facing the city. PHC has created a series of programs to help homeless people connect to a wide-range of services. Still, there is room for new ideas on how to address this complex issue.

What can we, as a community, do better to help people experiencing homelessness?

What can we, as a community, do better to help people experiencing homelessness?

Project Homeless Connect is using Neighborland to ask residents for fresh perspectives. Here’s your chance to join the discussion. What new ways can we help people experiencing homelessness in our neighborhoods? Can new technologies play a role in the solution? Please contribute your ideas and share this cause with your friends and neighbors.

What can we, as a community, do better to help people experiencing homelessness?

 

Casey installs pedestrian wayfinding signs in San Francisco.

Casey Lauderdale - Walk Your City

Idea:
20+ neighbors want Walk [Your City] signs in San Francisco.

Action:
To encourage walking in the city, Casey Lauderdale helps start a meetup to install Walk [Your City] signage that’s designed to change perceptions of how close things are by foot.

Casey’s Story:
After a group of neighbors discussed places to install Walk [Your City] signs in San Francisco, Casey proposed a weekend meetup group to get the project going.

Casey Lauderdale - Walk Your City

The group met on a Saturday at the Palace of Fine Arts on the northside of San Francisco. From there, they placed signs along several streets to promote more walking in the Marina, Cow Hollow and Union Square.

SF_Casey_WalkCity_3

Matt Tomasulo designed the Walk [Your City] signs and other wayfinding templates to encourage walkability and healthier communities in cities. The templates are free and available for download at www.walkyourcity.org/templates

Casey Lauderdale - Walk Your City

» Share your ideas for making streets more pedestrian friendly

 

Neighbor Q&A: Leemor Chandally

An interview with Leemor Chandally of URBAN SPACEship
Profile: neighborland.com/neighbors/urbanspaceship

After URBAN SPACEship, a group for action-oriented urbanists in New York, invited us to come and chat with them late last year, we got to talking about ways to work together. As it turns out, the timing was fortuitous: the group’s creator, Leemor Chandally, was looking for a platform that could help gather some of the ideas that were generated during the group’s monthly meetings, and find a project that members could collaborate on and implement.

leemor

What led you to create the URBAN SPACEship group?

I created the group through MeetUp in early 2012. It was shortly after I moved back to New York after living abroad for several years, and it was really a way for me to meet people who are involved in planning, design, and urbanism. It came out of both a need that I personally was looking to fill, and also a need that I saw for a forum where people with these interests could meet and talk.

And what kind of topics has the group discussed at past meetings?

The meetings have ranged in terms of the topics, but for the most part focused on public space and placemaking. The first was at the Project for Public Spaces, and we talked about Placemaking. I had reached out to PPS because I had been following their work for years and they had been an exemplary organization for Placemaking, for me, which didn’t really exist in Tel Aviv, where I was living. At the first meeting, people felt really inspired by seeing all of these projects PPS was working on and their approach to improving public space. It was actually really hard to get people to leave at the end! People were excitedly discussing and sharing ideas of what they could do.

At our second meeting, we talked about Tactical Urbanism with the Street Plans Collaborative’s Mike Lydon. That was the first time we actually had the meeting in a public space; we met at Putnam Plaza in Clinton Hill. The topic of Tactical Urbanism sort of followed up on what we were talking about at PPS with the Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper approach – smaller-scale community-driven projects that have the potential to have a significant impact and lead to long term solutions. After Mike’s presentation, the group moved over to a bar. Again, everyone was just buzzing with ideas, and sharing ideas, and talking about what we wanted to do. We met around 6:30, and we didn’t leave until around 10:30! For me, that was really amazing to see, what can happen when you bring people of various backgrounds and similar interests together. A lot of the members are people with day jobs, and they’re looking for an alternative way to meet people, some kind of platform where they can share ideas and potentially work together.

I’ve really enjoyed the fact that most of the gatherings have been in public space. I’ve seen more ideas being inspired that way. Talking about public space when you’re sitting in it, and experiencing it, naturally brings things out that you wouldn’t get sitting in a closed room. We had an interactive model-building workshop with urban planner James Rojas in Tompkins Square Park to re-imagine the park, and worked in teams to improve it. The end results were so imaginative and creative, having had the immediate surroundings as our source of reference. At another MeetUp at the Highline, where we talked about urban interventions, we had random passersby stop and join us, which was so unexpectedly awesome.

So now you’re taking the next step, and posing this question on Neighborland to take the group from ideas to action. Is it something that you had foreseen, that you would want to take it in this direction?

This was something that I had as a goal from the beginning, and I thought that getting people together, with a different person involved in urban planning each time to come and lead the discussion, was a good start. There were so many great ideas that came up during the meetings for potential collaborative projects, and great connections made betweens the members, though what seemed to be a challenge was to keep that momentum going. So teaming up with Neighborland on this project is the first step of really harnessing that creative energy to head toward something more active, and turn these ideas that people are sharing at events into collaborative projects.

There’s a range of ways for people to get involved in their neighborhoods, from top-down organizations to individual choices and actions. Do you think there are unique benefits or drawbacks to something semi-formal like this, a self-organized group trying to work together on implementing something?

I think that a great benefit of something semi-formal like this is that it creates a platform for this kind of citizen-generated work to take place, and the opportunity for people to connect with others who share similar interests and directly get involved in implementing their own ideas.

On top of that, I think most people don’t want to do it alone. They want to work together. Community-led projects are really gaining momentum, and I think that’s really inspiring because it shows people that, “Hey, those people did it, and I could emulate what they did, or do something similar.”

It hardly seems like a coincidence that the question that you’re asking is about getting more people to connect with each other. Can you talk a bit about why you chose to go in that direction?

First of all, so much life happens in public space. What I enjoy most about living in a city are those chance interactions you have with people when you’re walking down the street, or just hanging out in a park or a square. I think that a lot of innovation comes out of that too. It’s where people exchange ideas and information. A common thread in the different ideas that I’ve heard from the urbanists in the MeetUp group has been the desire to create more social interactions. The question itself also lends itself well to Neighborland. I wanted to ask something that would attract different people from different neighborhoods, with a variety of different ideas. And ultimately, increasing socialization in public space just seems like something that a lot of people are interested in doing. I think we’re all always looking for those connections with other people.

URBAN SPACEship wants to know: How would you encourage social interaction in your neighborhood’s public spaces?

Share your idea today, chat about others that you’re interested in, and then join us in New York on February 20th, when we’ll have a group discussion of the dialog online, choose a project, and create a plan for implementation this March!

 

Supporters of New Orleans Food Trucks join the debate at city hall.

NOFTC New Orleans City Council

Idea:
150+ neighbors want to reform the food truck laws in New Orleans.

Gathering Support:
On Tuesday Feb 5, New Orleans City Council’s Economic Development and Special Projects Committee debated how to govern the city’s burgeoning food truck industry. A group of food truck operators and residents, led by the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition (NOFTC), came out to show support for Councilwoman Stacy Head’s new proposals designed to help the growing food truck population.

NOFTC New Orleans City Council

Councilwoman Head’s proposed new ordinances increase food truck operating permits, increase the number of hours a food truck can operate in one location, and allow for closer proximity of food trucks to buildings. The proposals also increase permit costs and violation fines, ensuring that food truck operators comply to city requirements.

NOFTC New Orleans City Council

The NOFTC has gathered considerable community support. Residents recognize that food trucks can be a source of economic opportunity, bringing vibrancy and culinary innovation to the streets. Despite this, Councilwoman Head’s proposed changes have drawn opposition from groups like the Louisiana Restaurant Association – who have raised concerns that loosened regulations will have negative impacts to brick-and-mortar restaurants.

After a long and at some points heated public hearing, the City Council Committee will not be taking the proposed changes to a council vote. Over the next month, Councilwoman Head will re-amended or re-submit the proposal to the committee. Considering this, it could be more than a month before the proposal goes up for a council vote.

Take Action:
The good news is that the issue is still open, and the NOFTC and Councilwoman Head haven’t given up. The NOFTC asks New Orleans residents to voice their support for reforming laws to help Food Trucks and spread the word on this issue.

» Support food truck legal reform in New Orleans