Block Parties Bring Long-Term Neighborhood Benefits

Hang Chau is a future medical student who researched block parties and public health as an undergrad in Philadelphia, and is now organizing more in San Diego. In a new StreetsWiki entry on block parties,
she examines the way these public community events encourage people to
invest in their neighborhoods by highlighting the positive (outdoor
fun, personal connections) rather than the negative (litter, crime):

block_party.jpgA still from Elizabeth Press’ Block Party NYC Streetfilm

When neighbors know one another, they know who belongs on the street and are more likely to respond to suspicious activity. [One] examination of the effects of family ties shows that respondents who know more families in their neighborhoods are more likely to engage in neighborhood improvement activities; block parties facilitate the creation of those relationships.

Rounding out: Tom Harned, a New Haven-based transportation planner, shares some helpful insight into Level of Service measurement; Harlem & Hamilton Heights LS encourages you to give your feedback on NYC’s new BRT plans; and PA Walks and Bikes shares news of a Safe Routes to Schools grants program. We also welcome a new UK-based Spanish language group Los peatones opian, a forum for Portland, Oregon street repair, and a discussion group to ensure that the new LAPD chief is livable streets-friendly.

  • Kudos to Hang Chau! She’s 100% right.

    I now know a pretty significant percentage of the folks who live on my block in Brooklyn, but if it wasn’t for our annual block party, I’d probably know just half as many as I do.

    There’s just no substitute for face-to-face interaction with neighbors. It promotes greater cohesion, empathy, awareness and a greatly enhanced sense of community.

  • The BRT link is to a survey more detailed plans about the phase I plans are on web at

  • The Wiki entries would be a lot better if the citations were actually thorough with the reference fully cited. It’s unfair to the reader to not provide full information.

  • The Opoponax

    verrry slowwwwly cruised my bike through a block party on Willoughby Ave in Bed Stuy this afternoon, rockin’ out alongside 20-30 neighborhood folks of all ages doing the Electric Slide.

    Not that it’s the ONLY thing making my opinion of the area, but now I’m just a little more likely to think of that part of Brooklyn as a tight-knit community rather than a place to get mugged.

  • Robert Hallenbeck

    I think the author of this article is right in some sense.
    In my opinion, I live in Cambridge and people do not really get to know all of the neighbors, this is because there is a lot of people moving all the time here were I live, other than that it is true that you fell safer in the place were you know who is your neighborer.
    Interesting Article.


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