Overview of Program
Much has been written about the block as the organizing principle in community development. This is where concerns about quality of life are tangible and a sense of pride is easily established. As a consequence, neighborhood initiatives designed to work at the block level have great potential to capture people's imagination and sustain participation. Block level initiatives are also attractive because they awaken a sense of community.
The Livable Neighborhood Program is designed to coalesce these different strands into an effective empowerment tool to assist local government and nonprofits in delivering services and improving the overall livability of the block. The program concept is simple and builds directly on Empowerment Institute's two decades of experience in designing and delivering citizen and neighborhood empowerment programs for municipalities throughout the United States.
This program uses the mysterious power of numbers. If you think about it, community social problems are caused by a lot of little causes. These causes add up to big effects that are too large for us to manage alone. When we work together, however, things change. The greater our cooperation, the greater the impact of our efforts. This is a formula for taking the leverage away from problems and giving it to people, one block at a time.
While the Livable Neighborhood Program will help communities fix what’s broken at the grassroots level, more than that it will help neighbors create their neighborhood into the kind of place they’d like it to be.
Too often, neighborhoods wait for the appropriate government agency to show up and fix what ails them. Meanwhile, government is being stressed because we the people demand that more be done with less. The backbone of the Livable Neighborhood Program is a detailed menu of actions that everyone can take in any neighborhood setting — urban, suburban or rural. Its purpose is to help citizens take the steps they can on their own while at the same time interacting with local government as efficiently as possible.
The driver of the program is Empowerment Institute’s state-of-the-art knowledge of what it takes to motivate small group action. This proven format incorporates a structured behavior change and community organizing methodology with effective leadership development. It’s easy to implement. It’s enjoyable to take part in. Blocks that follow the simple instructions will become: safer, healthier, quieter, friendlier, greener, and more economical places to live.