Popup Block Parties

National Night Out-style events staggered throughout nicer weather

A group of neighbors grab food and talk

National Night Out events are a great way to interact with immediate neighbors, but sometimes the date and time of National Night Out doesn't work for people. This year's NNO, for instance, was on a record-breaking 100 degree day with a heat advisory. The dangerous heat and humidity prompted these community-building get-togethers to end early and for less people to show up. Ben and I made it to every Ward 3 street party, handed out popsicles and brochures, and had great conversations with voters.

At the events last night, I spoke with voters about how important it is for Robbinsdale to have events throughout the year that build connections between neighbors. It strengthen our community when people know each other and look out for each other, since it reduces housing turnover, crime, and other livability concerns.

It is important to recognize that not everyone works a 9-5 job, so National Night Out excludes people. None of the apartment complexes held official NNO events, from what I could tell, and renters comprise almost 40% of Robbinsdale residents -- residents who are already more difficult to communicate with due to locked building access and who lack enough representation from City Council they should have. I want to change that by creating a Renters' Commission. Click for details.

For these reasons, we should have more National Night Out-style events, with the goal of including as many people as we can. Special focus should be paid to engaging renters and those who otherwise have not attended these events.

I'm glad to live on a good block on Noble Avenue and I want to foster that type of relationship among your block, floor, and building.

During my 6 years serving on the non-partisan Cleveland Neighborhood Association Board, engaging and building community among the roughly 3,000 residents and those who worked and played in the neighborhood was a high priority. One method was to have National Night Out-style "Popup Block Parties" one block at a time staggered throughout nicer weather. These block parties didn't replace National Night Out, they were in addition to National Night Out.

As an elected Board Member, I supported this program and voted to provide each block who applied for a Popup Block Party with:

1 ) $50 for food, (non-alcoholic) beverages, and supplies

2 ) Prizes from local businesses

3 ) A staff member to run the event

4 ) A ball pit and activities for kids

5 ) Submitted the paperwork to have the block closed to through traffic

6 ) City First Responders were encouraged to attend, like at National Night Out

Blocks were allowed one Popup Block Party event per year, and one block party was allowed at a time. These block parties proved to be a great way to get feedback directly from residents on various topics, such as what amenities people wanted in our parks. During these block parties, we also provided people information on upcoming projects and events in a casual setting that encouraged conversation.

We should start a similar program in Robbinsdale. We could allow two or possibly three Popup Block Parties at a time across our city. For larger apartment complexes like Birdtown Flats and Windsor Court, we could do larger events or split them up by floor or by building. Similar to how Fox 9 sponsored an ice cream truck at Whiz Bang Days, we could work with food trucks for larger events.

A group of neighbors talk as two girls grab popcorn from a popcorn machine

National Night Out-style "Popup Block Parties" staggered throughout nicer weather

The goal is to create more opportunities that encourage community among you and your immediate neighbors. We want people to be good neighbors who look out for each other. I'm glad to live on a good block on Noble Avenue and I want to foster that type of relationship among your block, floor, and building. The investment is low but can have powerful results.

What do you think? How do you think we should increase the sense of community in Robbinsdale?

How do you think we should increase the sense of community in Robbinsdale?


Three kids play in a ball pit