If you and your neighbors would like to explore a wide range of neighborhood improvement options, consider the Livable Neighborhood guidebook, published by the Empowerment Institute and available through Transition Santa Cruz. The guidebook provides step-by-step instructions for action ideas in the areas of Health and Safety, Beautification and Greening, Resource-sharing, and Neighborhood Community-Building.
In teams of 5-8 households, neighbors work together to achieve goals based on the interests of the group members. Meetings take place biweekly over the course of a couple of months, and can launch long-term projects in the neighborhood.
The Low-Carbon Diet is a similar guidebook from the Empowerment Institute that you can use if you would prefer to focus on reducing energy use and carbon footprints. It is also available through Transition Santa Cruz.
Sharing belongings and services among neighbors saves resources, builds ties, and saves money. We provide brief “how-to” guides for a number of ways that neighbors can improve their quality of life by sharing, and links to further information. There are some familiar forms of sharing (think tools and rides), and also some more innovative types of sharing — time-banking and egg coops for example — that may spark interest and creativity around new skills and ways of being together.
Resource-sharing involves getting a group together to lead the process of choosing one or two sharing programs to start with and then putting in place systems to make them happen. The key here is picking projects that fit the personality of the neighborhood and starting simple. There is something for every neighborhood and the possibilities are almost endless!
A team-based approach to getting yourself and your neighbors ready for coping with earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and other disasters that may interrupt services like gas, electricity, water, and sewer for a week or more.
In addition to providing a much better level of preparedness than a one-household approach, doing this course as a neighborhood team can be a gateway to launching all kinds of other resilience projects with your neighbors.
Like the Livable Neighborhood program, the course includes a team-building meeting and a short series of topic meetings that break the significant amount of work to be done into do-able chunks.