How to turn a vacant lot into a community garden: A primer

In December, we posted about ways to find out who owns vacant lots in your neighborhood. One reason we thought ioby readers might be interested in this topic is that so many of you lead the charge to turn vacant lots into active amenities like community gardens. So cool!

The first step in this endeavor is usually to find out who owns the land you’re eyeing, which can take some digging. Below, we outline the next steps many ioby Leaders have told us they’ve taken to turn the empty lot on their block into a flourishing green oasis.

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Thank you for the strength, positivity, and hope this year.

To our ioby community:

It’s no secret that 2017 has been a difficult year for communities across the U.S. and its territories. Yet, somehow you—our ioby community—put more funds into our neighborhoods faster than ever before. In these unprecedented times, we at ioby have looked to you and found strength, positivity, and hope.

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“Whose land is this?” How to find out who owns vacant lots in your neighborhood

If you walk around any city or town in America, you’ll see them. If you have one in your neighborhood, you’ve certainly wondered how it came to be there. If you’re like many in our ioby community, you imagine all the great things you could do with it.

Why, it’s the ubiquitous vacant lot!

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AWESOME PROJECT: Help fund repairs for a beloved community garden in the Bronx

Sometimes a community garden just needs a little extra TLC, and this is one of those times for the Bryant Hill Community Garden, in the Bronx. One of only two community gardens in the South Bronx, and an easy 5 minute walk away for half of all Hunts Point residents – whose neighborhood is a food desert with asthma-triggering air quality – it’s desperately needed, and brimming with potential. Unfortunately, its vegetation and stone pathways, battered by years of rainstorms, are also brimming with debris.

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A first look at our new partnership with the City of Boston!

Do you know about “third spaces?” Even if you’re not familiar with the term, you certainly do. If we think of our homes as our first space, and our workplace as our second space, then a third space is anywhere else we regularly spend time and that’s part of the fabric of our neighborhood: community centers, barber shops, libraries, parks, cafes, and even sidewalks are all good examples.

Third spaces are where most ioby projects take place. Soon, we hope a lot more of them will be starting up in Boston, where we’re embarking on a new partnership with the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM) to bring ioby to community-based organizations and residents with awesome ideas for their neighborhoods’ third spaces.

Continue reading A first look at our new partnership with the City of Boston!

10 great crowdfunding projects for nonprofit arts organizations

Arts nonprofits help people express themselves and build community to create new ways of looking at the world. In order to do this well, arts groups need to juggle many priorities, from planning programs to spreading awareness on social media to enlisting volunteers – and of course, there’s FUNDRAISING.  At ioby, we think crowdfunding can be an important tool in every nonprofit’s toolkit, and arts nonprofits have been some of our greatest fundraisers.

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AWESOME PROJECT: MuslimARC is coming home to Detroit

When Namira Islam had just finished law school and taken the bar exam four years ago, she paused for breath, and went online to check in with her friends and communities. She had thought about the ways in which she’d felt discriminated against during her life – both as a Bangladeshi immigrant in America, and as a non-Arab in the Muslim community – and found herself drawn to the dialogue on exclusion happening on Twitter.

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4 ways to make crosswalks (better) in your neighborhood

Want to make more crosswalks on the streets in your neighborhood? Or make the ones you have better? Here’s a bit of background on what makes streets so great (and not so great) and how you can make crossing them easier, safer, and more fun where you live.

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How to grow community engagement for your sustainability project

If you’re a devoted sustainability planning or policy leader in the public sector today—particularly within a city or state government office or agency—you’ve probably asked yourself one or more of these questions:

  • How can we be sure we’re responding quickly and effectively to residents’ ideas and needs concerning environmental issues?
  • In our planning processes, how can we include the voices of residents in neighborhoods with long histories of disinvestment?
  • How can we expand and deepen our community engagement with a tight budget and scarce resources?

Well, we have a few ideas, courtesy of some outstanding ioby Leaders, projects, and friends:

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