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E-Democracy.org – Project Blog

3333 Community Sparks – Copying Another Idea for Posterity

Written by Steven Clift

In 2013, the Forever St. Paul, $1 million idea challenge, put out a request for proposals. This is what we proposed. We are copying this into our blog for archival purposes. We still love the idea! Let us know if you want to make it happen or fund it.

 

3333 Community Sparks – Connect Every Block, All People Across St. Paul

Steven Clift

by Steven Clift | Mar 21, 2013

Summary:

It starts with you. Yes, you.

3333 Community Sparks
2222 Potlucks
1111 Online block groups … and more
110,000 Households to engage

That’s 33 households reached by you, a Community Spark, and listed in a simply powerful neighbor directory for your block or building.

Then 50+ households are invited to each potluck and 100 households connected easily year-round with their nearest neighbors via the world’s most inclusive online community network ever.

This is a foundation to make ALL of St. Paul not just great, but an awesome place to live and build a future we make together block by block, building by building.

From this in-person and online foundation, that by design connects neighbors across race, ethnicity, and income, we will build engagement in community life that our families can experience everyday.

How will it work?

1. Recruit 3,333 volunteers and map out the blocks and buildings covered. Plan for a three year campaign.

2. Share inspirational neighbor connecting stories from blocks and buildings that are already connected along with training and an online infrastructure to make the creation and maintaining of your neighbor directory easy.

3. Hire multilingual residents, including young adults, to bolster door to door efforts. This will ensure we recruit Sparks in all parts of town and that the effort fundamentally reaches the nearly half of St. Paul residents that are people of color and the 18% who chose St. Paul as their home who were born in other countries.

4. Promote trust-building in-person connecting through potlucks in addition to events like National Night Out. Working with the Sunday Suppers movement tied to the Martin Luther King Day weekend, let’s bring neighbors together year-round. Local and national retailers (e.g. Target) could be challenged to match funding with gift cards.

5. Innovate with online nearest neighbor connections and more.

Let’s get started now! Sign-up: http://e-democracy.org/beaspark

 

Your idea

Title of your idea

3333 Community Sparks – Connect Every Block, All People Across St. Paul

Give us the highlights of your idea for making Saint Paul great (2,000 characters maximum or approx. 250 words)

It starts with you. Yes, you.

3333 Community Sparks
2222 Potlucks
1111 Online block groups … and more
110,000 Households to engage

That’s 33 households reached by you, a Community Spark, and listed in a simply powerful neighbor directory for your block or building.

Then 50+ households are invited to each potluck and 100 households connected easily year-round with their nearest neighbors via the world’s most inclusive online community network ever.

This is a foundation to make ALL of St. Paul not just great, but an awesome place to live and build a future we make together block by block, building by building.

From this in-person and online foundation, that by design connects neighbors across race, ethnicity, and income, we will build engagement in community life that our families can experience everyday.

How will it work?

1. Recruit 3,333 volunteers and map out the blocks and buildings covered. Plan for a three year campaign.

2. Share inspirational neighbor connecting stories from blocks and buildings that are already connected along with training and an online infrastructure to make the creation and maintaining of your neighbor directory easy.

3. Hire multilingual residents, including young adults, to bolster door to door efforts. This will ensure we recruit Sparks in all parts of town and that the effort fundamentally reaches the nearly half of St. Paul residents that are people of color and the 18% who chose St. Paul as their home who were born in other countries.

4. Promote trust-building in-person connecting through potlucks in addition to events like National Night Out. Working with the Sunday Suppers movement tied to the Martin Luther King Day weekend, let’s bring neighbors together year-round. Local and national retailers (e.g. Target) could be challenged to match funding with gift cards.

5. Innovate with online nearest neighbor connections and more.

Let’s get started now! Sign-up: http://e-democracy.org/beaspark

Website address (if applicable)

Innovation

What makes your idea different or unexpected? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

This idea truly covers ALL of St. Paul. It engages ALL kinds of people and embraces the dynamic diversity of St. Paul’s 111,000 households.

It involves everyday people in making this happen and recognizes that inclusion takes a real investment.

In addition, working through the St. Paul’s BeNeighbors.org effort to connect neighborhoods online in public life with at least 10,000 participants, we have a base from which the 3333 Community Sparks can be recruited.

We can add support for block and building level connections online. Many blocks, perhaps 2%, in St. Paul already connect privately via email and online groups. They LOVE connecting this way. They are connected because a “spark” made it happen. Every block can be included in this connecting revolution.

Impact

This Entry is about (Issues)

How will your idea make a difference in Saint Paul? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

We can impact every corner of St. Paul and all the blocks and buildings in-between.

About two decades of experience shape E-Democracy’s BeNeighbors.org effort. The key lesson is that to bring people together and to inspire collaboration and community action beyond the usual suspects, you have to go local.

In our online participation model, 1% will show up city-wide, 25% are now showing up in our strongest online Neighbors Forums (S. Minneapolis), and the patch-work of block level online groups below the radar are known to connect up to 80% of households in extremely small areas. Unfortunately, if left to organic slow growth, very few of those exciting block networks will connect lower income areas, connect people across race, and renters and many new residents will be left out.

Sustainability


Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life? How might it inspire others to do something similar in their community? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

By creating a simple but powerful neighbor directory (printed and shared online with participating neighbors) with options for mobile phone, email, etc. it will be a reliable day to day resource. We will design an infrastructure to help Community Sparks maintain that information and citywide partners would direct new residents to sign-up online. (We’d get in the water bill, etc.) We will clearly bolster existing crime prevention efforts like National Night Out as well.

By creating rituals like winter potlucks and e-communicating citywide to directory members about “block up” community engagement opportunities like online groups for your block (using Facebook and other tools) we can sustain and extend impact. Further, E-Democracy does nationwide training and outreach in this space today.

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