69.2 F

Davis, California

Friday, June 14, 2024

Crafting Gemeinschaft

This is my first year living in a house in Davis and I was really excited

— not because of the amount of leaves I get to rake, but because of the

invitation I found on my door to my neighborhood’s block party. The Ninth

Davis Neighbors’ Night Out (DNNO) took place on Sunday, and organizers

set the aim of breaking the Guinness World Record for “Most

Neighborhood Potlucks On the Same Day.”

DNNO is part of the City of Davis’s Good Neighbor Initiative, which

was created to promote understanding and effective communication

between neighbors. The way DNNO works is that multiple people sign

up as “party sponsors” who are in charge of sending out invitations to the

event or have the option of getting invitations directly from the city. When

I went out to my neighborhood’s block party and met our party sponsor,

Susan, she said that it was her second year as a sponsor. The neighbors

each pitched in by bringing a dish and their lawn chairs, thereby making the

workload more manageable for her. The only thing that troubled Susan was

wondering how she was going to finish all the leftover food.

The City of Davis highlights that DNNO is important because there

are 64,000 residents living in nine square miles; however, I think that every

city could benefit from a mass neighborhood block party, regardless of its

Another way to build relationships with those living near you is

through social media. A social network that has the potential to change the

way people gather is Nextdoor.com, which is essentially a social network

for neighborhoods. The City of Davis promotes this site on the infographics

they provide about the Good Neighbor Initiative. Curious to see if my

neighborhood had a “profile,” I created an account on Nextdoor.com and

found one for Central Davis. Although I am still waiting to be verified via

mail (see, it’s secure) I already found listings about the need for a

babysitter and a potential car break-in. It’s like the neighborhood crime

watch group you never had. Also, the fact that I could potentially find a job

(and a job on the very street I live on, no less) is amazing. Normally, when I

use babysitting sites, they require me to bike long distances in the wee

hours of the morning; therefore the locality of these postings is appreciated.

I could personally find Nextdoor.com useful because it might lead

to me meeting more people on my block than the actual block party

established by DNNO. The turnout for my personal neighborhood was

15 people and I know there were a few faces missing (like my neighbors

that play music loud at night – hey, it’s OK, no hard feelings – I wanted to

get to know you too). Some possible ways to encourage greater turnout

is using rewards as an incentive and establishing more of a face-to-face

connection when passing out invitations. It’s a big step in itself to have a

night like this, and one of the many reasons I feel blessed to go to school

in Davis; however I am looking forward to seeing DNNO’s awareness

and attendance grow, and possibly be promoted through websites like


To get her spinach dip recipe or to find out how to win the hearts of your

own neighbors you can email NICOLE NELSON at nsnelson@ucdavis.edu.


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