Re: Block Club - explanation
From: Fred H Olson (fholsonmaroon.tc.umn.edu)
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 1997 09:57:58 -0600
On Fri, 10 Jan 1997 MartyR707 [at] aol.com wrote:

> What in the WORLD is a block club leader?  I haven't a clue, but there sure
> seems to be a lot of emotion around whatever it is!
> Marty Roberts
> 
I composed a response to a local neighborhood issues list in which I 
added some cohousing related comments.  I decided to cross post it to 
cohousing-L. That message ws entitiled "Renter Involvement / Renters in 
Cohousing".  In that message reference was made to Block clubs.

One nbhd-tc subscriber has made some responses ("emotional")
 to that message to BOTH lists and has subscribed to Cohousing-L so that
they get posted.  I had not anticipated how the thread would be continued
cross list in fractured form.  Sorry.  I dont think I'll send the same
message to to lists with via the carbon copy function... (Thereby reducing
the chances of SOME replies be cross posted. )

As to what Block Clubs are....

In Minneapolis a block club is an organizations to which all residents of 
a residential block are encouraged to particpate.  Meeting are held 
generally at peoples homes on the block periodically up to once a month 
is typical - we try for 4 times per year but it varies a lot.  Participation
varies, some households never some always and some occasionally.  Our 
blcok club - actually covers houses on either side of our street for 2 blocks
(40 households) typically has 10-15 people at meetings.  We announce the 
meetings by distribuiting a leaflet door-to-door.  The Block Club leader
is the person who has agreed to do such things as find a house to meet 
at, plan the meeting, make up and distribute the leaflet etc.  On Nbhd-tc
there has been some emotion around how much can be expected of volunteer 
block leaders...

Block clubs do such things as discuss and try to deal with problems on the
block, encourage neighbors to get to know each other, participate in crime
watch programs, distribute information from the city on public meetings,
recycling etc etc. We also organize an annual party in July or August for 
which we close the street (with a special permit) for the afternoon.

The way I am beginning to see things, Block Clubs are on the continum
of ways people who live in close proximity to each other can relate to 
each other.  From this perspective cohousing is simply on the intense 
and intentional (moved there to do it) end of the continum.  I'm also 
starting to think that despite the self selection aspect of cohousing
difference that one can build on the sense of community on a block 
fostered by the block club to get closer to the sense of community of 
cohousing.  Our retrofit cohousing group ( Homewood Cohousing) will stay 
organizationally seperate from the block club but with lots of overlap in 
the people involved.  Cohousing members will have made a commitment
to greater cooperation.  Guests will be welcome to cohousing events.

Home wood cohousing: http://freenet.msp.mn.us/housing/cohousing/homewood/

Fred

--
Fred H. Olson  fholson [at] tc.umn.edu  (612)588-9532  Amateur radio: WB0YQM 
List manager of  Nbhd-tc (Twin Cities Neighborhood issues)  and
Cohousing-L (see http://www.cohousing.org )



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