For your information and edification:
Bruce Thomson <bthomson@e...>
Date: Thu Nov 18,
2004 8:59 am
Subject: Neighbourhood newsletter idea
is how I have started my two different neighbourhood groups, one in
(Ashdale Village Resource Group) and another in Palmerston North
Village Resource Group).
Sample newsletters are attached.
participants here (about four or five) but previously in
dozens. Here, I'm building it up. It takes effort, patience,
contacting. We have a brunch this Sunday morning 11am, for
The newsletter, copied five per page, and then cut into
newsletters, costs 1c per household.
Invent a 'village'
(neighbourhood) of no more than about 600 homes. That
way people are truly
quite nearby each other, about max five or six
borders such as major highways, a river, a huge industry
wall, etc. and
include a map in every newsletter to give everyone a
definite sense of place
and a sense of belonging (Even clearly exclude
outsiders from it. They can
create their own villages if they want to.
it clear, you're either
'in' or 'out', so it's not a confusing shambles of
council map of the streets and houses from the city council, for
about $20 or
less. Then scan it and copy from it your 'village' only, and
put a village
name on the top. You can get your village 'recognized'
officially if you and
a neighbhour or two write to the council asking for
speed bumps or
landscaping, using your map. The council staff start
referring to your area
by the name you've given it, and using your map
borders when talking about
Make friends with city councillors, and get them onside. Invariably
have supported my 'villages'. Don't let them 'own' you
When you get interested participants, hold a small
Get yourself voted in as the president of the NameName Village
Group (which gives you excellent credibility as an an
representative when talking to council or institutions).
the others if they'll help you by delivering a street or two next time
put the newsletter out. I have about four deliverers, plus me. It only
a half hour to do a street, so you're not asking for much.
Also, create a
Yahoo egroup for them and others interested
conversations. Even do that first, and put the website
address in your
I can't let you join those egroups because they are for neighbours
If you can promote a community garden or even a parkette, it
physical public meeting place other than just your home. A garden
mean food production.
I've put in hundreds of hours
developing my villages. It has sometimes
awesome and 'miraculous'
though, materializing friendships (and even a
girlfriend, conveniently of
course, within easy walking distance) from a
meaningless block of city full
of strangers. Note: There's no pay in it,
it's all social benefits.
activities, were sometimes hard work and even dirty (litter cleanup
rotton meat and disposable diapers were dumped into our home-made
bins, attracting crawling maggots and retch-inducing smells). But
were mostly interesting and satisfying. Here is a list of
- Inventing the village, by choosing the area, and the name, and
- Publicly cleaning up neighbourhood litter on my
own, to attract
- Scouting round the
village to see the issues (litter, vandalism, crime,
Taking digital camera photos for newsletter, and musing about at home on
PC at night
- Constructing home-made litter bins and installing them at
- Regularly clearing the bins on rubbish day, with
council consent, and
help from other residents.
- Similarly, creating
doggie bag dispensers, and ensuring they were
supplied with plastic
- Using MS Word to create newsletters, deciding content, events,
to put in
- Organizing creation of parkettes, transforming
junk land into lovely
- Hosting and facilititating meetings of
between two and 29 neighbours
- Conferring with city council, on traffic
calming, waste management,
- Regular mowing of parkette
lawns, removing stumps, weeding,
- Paint spruce-ups, and regular graffiti
paint-over, (free paint from
council's toxic waste depot, &
- Getting irrigation tap for parkette installed by
- Confronting louts and loutesses in a teenage gang
Helping family-worried residents get crack house (drugs, wholesaler)
marijuana business stopped.
- Unsuccessfully opposing loss of
some greenspace to developer-built
- A 50-attendee
commemoration in the parkette, of an old resident who
helped us build the
- Arranging whole-village garage sales. (Be sure to make your
'rough & ready' cheap, not 'flash')
- Going to movies
on cheap night with residents, and also going on village
- Cuppas, meals with residents, litter pickup sessions, phone
arguments, lovemaking, laughing.
20 Lyndhurst Street,
doubt that a small group of committed individuals can change
indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret