Making a Toolkit for Green Blocks

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Across the nation, small groups of citizens are coming together to promote sustainability in their own neighborhoods. Neighbors in Los Angeles are taking a communal approach to green living at the block scale. People are meeting on weekends for de-paving parties in Portland and home weatherization barn raisings in Cambridge. And in Boulder, homeowners are literally bringing the movement to their own backyards by converting lawns to urban farms. In her thesis, Ingrid Heilke (MCP ’10) took stock of these efforts and considered the opportunities for proliferating community-scale sustainability.

Neighborhood-level sustainability is the middle ground between building- and city-scale initiatives. Community-organized efforts can offer economy-of-scale advantages over what an individual could accomplish alone, but have a degree of access to and control over property that surpasses that of city planners. But despite their advantages, these projects are few and far between and there is no current way for these communities to share stories with each other and provide tips for overcoming common barriers.

Ingrid proposes a Green Blocks toolkit that would bring these groups together and provide specific resources for their programs. She envisions an online resource center that provides a menu of tried-and-true community initiatives, a social network that allows local and national allies to interact, and basic management and analytic tools needed for day-to-day operations. These resources would accomplish the dual goals of helping local efforts succeed and creating a network that can grow the neighborhood model.

Community-based sustainability efforts have the potential to go viral and become a legitimate movement. But first, they need a way of spreading good ideas throughout their neighborhoods, cities, and country. Read more about Ingrid’s ideas of how to achieve this in her thesis.

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Posted on February 26, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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