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Bringing Neighbors Together with Street Gatherings



Block parties — street gatherings that bring together neighbors for socializing, shared meals, games and entertainment — have been around for decades. But some cities today also see block parties as an important tool to help create safety nets for their residents and make their communities stronger.

Good idea: Get creative when planning block party activities and traditions. In Chicago, one block makes flags and strings them across the street. Salk’s neighborhood has a block party for the summer solstice. Others have toy and book swaps, cupcake-decorating stations and parades on wheels.

“Block parties are a way of bringing people face to face, one on one, so they then can begin building a relationship with one another, once we start building a relationship, then we start caring for one another, and that’s when we start watching out for one another. And when people look out for one another, that’s when community exists.” When a city has community, it makes it a desirable place to work, live and invest in. Without community, he says, who would want to live there?

Good idea: A block party can be a first step toward a larger neighborhood effort: cleaning up streets and vacant lots, eliminating crime and keeping a good neighborhood strong.

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