Putting the neighbor back in neighborhood is critical to revitalizing underserved communities. For too long, residents of low income communities have been subject to the normalization of crime, blight, truancy, chemical dependency and more. We believe that this can all be changed with the advent of a different lifestyle philosophy that utilizes the most powerful force known to man. SOCIAL INFLUENCE!
What is social influence? Social influence is commonly known as “peer pressure”. It is people consciously making use of their personal power to motivate others. In this case, it can be used to influence a change in social norms that will empower residents in these communities to take on the responsibility of getting invested in revitalizing their own communities.
Studies indicate that over 1/3 of Americans have never spoken to their neighbor. That is over 100 million people who are passing on the opportunity to get involved in inspiring health and prosperity in their own neighborhoods. This apathy genders “community vacuums” where social ills proliferate. The lack of motivations to create social accountability and responsibility comes at a significant cost. Where social ills are allowed to grow, tax payers foot the bill for policing, waste management, abatement of property, juvenile delinquency and loss of lives. The cost is in the hundreds of millions of dollars along with myriad manifestations of mental and physical health maladies. Changes in social norms can positively impact all of these issues and more.
How do we change social norms? As with most attempts at social change, education is key. Our approach is simple. Provide a “space” with community events that will be used to inform residents of underserved communities about what the issues are; how they came about:, and how to work collectively to resolve them. The “space” is designed to introduce neighbors who have not previously had any significant interaction. This introduction is the genesis for social influence. We teach them that there are 3 things healthy communities do. (1) SHARE TIME (2) SHARE IDEAS (3) SHARE A WILLINGNESS IN REALIZING THOSE IDEAS.
Community buy in is critical to community revitalization. Developing “indigenous vision”, strategy and distribution of labor takes that buy in and gives everyone action items to accomplish. One example of an action item is “new neighbor integration”. New neighbor integration involves visiting a new resident, informing them of the community infrastructure, community resources and helping them with immediate needs. Other action items include: Neighborhood dinners/cookouts; youth contests/events, Adult neighbor mixers; social education events; resource access events and more.
The effectiveness of these tools will be measured in enhance civic engagement, less crime, less truancy, less blight, higher property values, better funded schools and overall community cohesion.
To find out more about Putting The Neighbor Back In Neighborhood contact us.