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Fw: [intentionalcommunityvictoria] Neighbourhood newsletter idea

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  • Mike Morin
    For your information and edification: MM Bruce Thomson Date: Thu Nov 18, 2004 8:59 am Subject: Neighbourhood newsletter idea This is how I
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 19, 2004
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      For your information and edification:
       
      MM
       

      Bruce Thomson <bthomson@e...>
      Date:  Thu Nov 18, 2004  8:59 am
      Subject:  Neighbourhood newsletter idea

      This is how I have started my two different neighbourhood groups, one in
      Toronto, (Ashdale Village Resource Group) and another in Palmerston North
      (Chelwood Village Resource Group).

      Sample newsletters are attached.

      Very few participants here (about four or five) but previously in
      Toronto I
      had dozens. Here, I'm building it up. It takes effort, patience, social
      contacting. We have a brunch this Sunday morning 11am, for example

      The newsletter, copied five per page, and then cut into individual
      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
      blocks.
      Choose physical 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.
      Make
      it clear, you're either 'in' or 'out', so it's not a confusing shambles of
      cronyism.)

      Get a 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 it.

      Make friends with city councillors, and get them onside. Invariably they
      have supported my 'villages'. Don't let them 'own' you though.

      When you get interested participants, hold a small meeting.

      Get yourself voted in as the president of the NameName Village Resource
      Group (which gives you excellent credibility as an an elected
      representative when talking to council or institutions).

      Ask the others if they'll help you by delivering a street or two next time
      you put the newsletter out. I have about four deliverers, plus me. It only
      takes a half hour to do a street, so you're not asking for much.

      Also, create a Yahoo egroup for them and others interested in
      neighbourhood
      conversations. Even do that first, and put the website address in your
      first newsletter.

      See
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PalmyChelwoodVillage

      and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AshdaleVillage

      Sorry, I can't let you join those egroups because they are for neighbours
      in those areas only.

      If you can promote a community garden or even a parkette, it becomes a
      physical public meeting place other than just your home. A garden can also
      mean food production.

      I've put in hundreds of hours developing my villages. It has sometimes
      felt
      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.

      My activities, were sometimes hard work and even dirty (litter cleanup
      where rotton meat and disposable diapers were dumped into our home-made
      litter bins, attracting crawling maggots and retch-inducing smells). But
      still they were mostly interesting and satisfying. Here is a list of
      things
      I've done:

      - Inventing the village, by choosing the area, and the name, and the logo,
      using PC

      - Publicly cleaning up neighbourhood litter on my own, to attract
      attention
      and participation.

      - Scouting round the village to see the issues (litter, vandalism, crime,
      loneliness)

      - Taking digital camera photos for newsletter, and musing about at home on
      my PC at night

      - Constructing home-made litter bins and installing them at strategic
      points.

      - 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 bags.

      - Using MS Word to create newsletters, deciding content, events, contacts
      to put in

      - Organizing creation of parkettes, transforming junk land into lovely
      gardens

      - Hosting and facilititating meetings of between two and 29 neighbours

      - Conferring with city council, on traffic calming, waste management,
      beautification

      - Regular mowing of parkette lawns, removing stumps, weeding,

      - Paint spruce-ups, and regular graffiti paint-over, (free paint from
      council's toxic waste depot, & locals)

      - Getting irrigation tap for parkette installed by council

      - 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
      crowded townhouses

      - A 50-attendee commemoration in the parkette, of an old resident who
      helped us build the parkette

      - Arranging whole-village garage sales. (Be sure to make your signs look
      'rough & ready' cheap, not 'flash')

      - Going to movies on cheap night with residents, and also going on village
      walkabouts with them.

      - Cuppas, meals with residents, litter pickup sessions, phone yarns,
      arguments, lovemaking, laughing.

      Regards,

      Bruce Thomson

      -----------------------------------------------------------------
      Bruce Thomson
      (06) 357-7773
      20 Lyndhurst Street,
      Palmerston North
      bthomson@e...
      -----------------------------------------------------------------






      "Never doubt that a small group of committed individuals can change
      the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead




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