Getting to Know Your Neighborhood

There are several resources and tools you can use to gather information about your neighborhood.

Windshield Survey

It's a good idea to take a look at your neighborhood with fresh eyes. Take notice of the things you can see through the windshield of your car as you drive through the neighborhood, or, better yet, take a walk through the neighborhood with a clipboard and paper and discover the answers to these questions:

  • What are the neighborhood landmarks, focal points, special features and assets?
  • What businesses are located there or nearby? What schools? Recreation facilities?
  • Who are the residents and what abilities do they have?
  • How many homes are located there? When were they built? How are they maintained?
  • What kind of condition are the streets in? Signage? Street lights? Sidewalks?
  • What are the natural features of the neighborhood? What does the landscape look like?
  • What does the neighborhood look like? Smell like? Sound like?

Survey the Neighbors

Before your first meeting (or any time really), prepare a survey of questions to ask residents some basic data and also their ideas and opinions about the neighborhood. The survey may look something like this:

  • What is your name, address, phone number, e-mail address?
  • How long have you lived in the neighborhood?
  • Would you be willing to help organize the association and/or participate in its activities?
  • What are two things you really like about the neighborhood?
  • What two things would you like to change?
  • Who else should be involved with our group?
  • Would you be willing to serve on a committee? If so, how are you most interested in serving?

Government Information

City government and other agencies often have information that is useful to particular neighborhoods. For example, you might check with the Police Department for crime statistics, the Planning Commission for subdivision plat maps, or the Property Valuation Administration for information regarding individual properties and ownership. Check the Citizen's Resource Guide for guidance in finding the specific information you seek, or contact the Neighborhood Action Office for assistance.

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