During the past two years, while our daughter’s been working in Boston, we’ve enjoyed several visits to her neighbourhood, Jamaica Plain. JP is diverse, filled with interesting small businesses and friendly.
Walking around I’d notice announcements for a range of social, sport, educational and political activities. Recently, I came across Neighbors for Neighbors, JP. Their blog encourages social groups for dining, dating and walking in groups around the fabulous Jamaica Pond. Community projects with their own mini-blog presence include park, police, and politics common to urban neighbourhoods anywhere. They also encourage small scale organizing. The Left Right Front Back is an elegantly simple initiative encouraging everyone to introduce themselves by knocking on the doors around them.
With growing connectivity and online usage, community web sites such as this one are able to link together those with common interests with new effectiveness. The long tail phenomenon describes new economic power coming from the internet’s ability to link together a customer group that would be otherwise almost impossible. A similar dynamic may apply to building community capacity.
Community building and neighbourhood action require a certain number of participants, leaders, and supporters. On a hot issue, this happens easily. Finding the other 5 people interested in promoting wireless access or weed wacking can take many posters, handouts and meetings.
Using the categories and links management features of blogs, Jamaica Plain shows how neighbourhoods can add online community to assist with uncovering local resources, interests and capacities.