Neighbors Building Neighborhoods
The Neighbors Building Neighborhoods (NBN) initiative was founded on the belief that sustainable change occurs when neighbors work together and take control of their neighborhoods. To support this paradigm shift, both residents and city staff received training on core NBN principles such inclusiveness and a focus on community strengths instead of weaknesses.
Five neighborhoods are currently participating in a pilot effort. These neighborhoods work with program staff to identify community assets, recruit more residents to committees, and organize events.
For its part, the City of Norfolk has established its first neighborhood grant program, providing up to $500 in matching funds for visible neighborhood improvements. It also sponsored the first Front Porch Neighborhood Summit to provide a forum for residents to share information, highlight projects, and be recognized for achievements.
Neighbors have come together to support community gardens, celebrate multiculturalism, and help craft a series of community concerts with the Virginia Symphony. The Southside Coalition, which represents three neighborhoods, is using the NBN program to help implement around 80% of the short-term priorities identified in its 2004 neighborhood plan.