International
Federation for
Housing and
Planning

Neighborland – building communities

The IFHP Travel Squad reports from San Francisco: How do you voice and share ideas for your neighborhood? Neighborland is a powerful and simple online platform that empowers people to take action on local issues.

Creating better communities
Neighborland is a new way for people to share opinions, identify resources, and connect with decision makers to make great ideas happen. The online community intends to transform weak local networks into strong ones by connecting people around their shared interests and visions.  The goal is to create an informed forum focused on the economic and social development of cities. At its best, the tool brings more people into the development process, helps them understand it, and works with community and municipal leaders to create better places.

At the Neighborland platform, San Francisco residents get the opportunity to share and support great ideas for places they care about and get involved in projects in their local neighborhood. Simply put, people write what they want in their community, see what others want and click “me too”. They can visualize their idea with images and video, and map it to a specific address. In this way, Neighborland allows people and organizations who want the same things to connect and do something about issues they care about.

Neighborland in action
Folks for Polk is one of the local community groups in San Francisco benefitting from the possibilities available at Neighborland. The engaged group of citizens is dedicated to improving the conditions for pedestrians and cyclists at the busy Polk Street in the center of San Francisco. They use the Neighborland material with the easily recognizable ‘I Want____ In My Neighborhood’ identity when brainstorming on opportunities to make the street safer, more viable and healthy.

Furthermore, Folks for Polk have their own site at Neighborland, connecting people in San Francisco with special interest in the improvement of Polk Street. Here citizens have stated that they want protected bike lanes, countdown pedestrian signs, bike share stations, wider sidewalks, more parklets and art, music, and community events on Polk Street - and many more have clicked “me too” to the suggestions. Emanating from this empowerment, Folks for Polk have created a strong community that gathers at public meetings discussing the future of their beloved street.

Facts

  • Neighborland was created by Candy Chang, Dan Parham and Tee Parham
  • The Neighborland experiment is run by CEO Dan Parham and Chief Engineer Tee Parham
  • Neighborland is supported by an Urban Innovation Fellowship from Tulane University and the Rockefeller Foundation
  • Neighborland launched a basic site in New Orleans in the summer of 2011 and recently made it available and free to use everywhere in the U.S.

Links

Read the previous blogs on San Francisco
IFHP Travel Squad reports from San Francisco
San Francisco – green and growing
San Francisco at a glance with IFHP
Living Innovation Zones - a tool to improve public space
San Francisco innovating through data sharing
San Francisco - City of High and Low
Parklets - claiming back the streets
San Francisco – City of Transparency and Innovation