Town Teams do a wide variety of things. The flexibility of the model is one of its greatest strengths. Different ideas work in different places.
It’s fairly easy to think of event ideas – holding a street party, hosting a SOUP or putting on a festival or markets. But what about non-event ideas?
Here is a list of random ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Some ideas you can do by yourself and others could be for your new or existing Town Team.
Remember, embrace the lack of money and keep it simple! Have fun! Creativity can slash costs AND build community at the same time!
|How It Could Work
|Regular walks around the neighbourhood
|An area feels better when we see other people outside. Make the effort to say hello or smile at people as you walk by
|Play with your kids in the front yard, rather than inside or in the backyard.
|This will create instant action on your street! Kids are often the best placemakers. Let them play out the front and invite some neighbours over. Playing on the footpath is even better! Reclaim the street for people
|Eyebomb an object
|Eyebombing is a playful way to engage with your area. It’s basically putting googly-eyes on objects. Check out the webpage for examples
|Closing a neighbourhood street for a morning or afternoon is a fantastic way to encourage kids outside. It’s also a good way to meet your neighbours
|Jane’s Walks (host a local walking tour)
|A Jane’s Walk is a hosted walk around a neighbourhood, hearing from local people at various stops along the way. Someone might explain some of the history, a business owner might tell you about what they do and why. It’s pretty easy to organise and manage
|Plant a verge (or nature strip) garden
|Some local governments are very supportive of verge gardens, others are a bit more wary. But, hey are such good ways to green your area, promote biodiversity, promote social streets and build community, it might be worth doing anyway
|Verge garden competition
|The next step would be to run a competition. Who has the best verge garden? The prize doesn’t need to be big. Bragging rights for a year could be it!
|Christmas lights competition
|While we are talking about competitions, what about running a local competition to encourage Christmas lights or decorations? Or it could be for another festival or commemoration.
|Name the Lanes competition
|There are plenty of unnamed laneways, patches of dirt or other weird public spaces. Let’s choose a name. It doesn’t have to be an official process. Lois Lane is often a popular choice.
|Set Up a Street Library
|Street libraries are one of those things that indicate that people here really care. A street library is a quirky container full of books to swap. Put one in and then take one out.
|A Swap Shop is the same idea as a Street Library. It could be anything, not just books that are being swapped. Maybe a lemon for some chalk?
|Chalk it up
|Kids love chalk. Let them go nuts on the footpath along your street. This will encourage parents and others out on to the street. The street can go from dead to vibrant by adding chalk and kids (other ideas could make it even better)
|Yarn bombing is type of street art that uses crocheted yarn or fibre rather than paint or chalk. Knitters make brilliant (yarn) bombers
|Guerrilla gardens are unofficial gardens set up by local people. They could be succulents in a street tree well, seed bombs or full-scale space reclamations. Find a space and see what you could plant. Remember, ongoing care of the space is important, otherwise plants will quickly die
|Plant some trees
|This idea might need some permission and support from your local government. They might even give you the trees. Work with local environmental groups to make sure you do it right
|Create art on a seat with colourful duct tape
|You don’t have to go as extreme as Berlin’s “SelfMadeCrew”, but some colourful duct tape could help to soften some boring seat benches
|Run a Shop Local Campaign
|Shopping local has many economic, social and environment benefits for a local area. Help organise small businesses in the area to get involved
|Create a community-led Place Improvement Action Plan
|Work with your Town Team or group to create a simple Action Plan. Who will do what by when? This can help get more people on board and attract funding. TTM can provide a free Action Plan template.
|Pick up some rubbish
|It’s pretty easy to pick up a piece of rubbish. Sure, you don’t have to pick up everything, or clean the whole street, but every little bit helps. It’s better for our environment too
|Arrange some drinks/nibbles with neighbours on the verge (nature strip) or in a local park
|Relax and meet new people with a simple social catch up
|Create a Box City for kids
|Grab some old packing boxes, assemble them with some tape and let the kids go crazy. Hours of fun
|Create a social seat
|Super easy! Find a seat (preferably placed in a social spot) and put a simple sign on saying you are happy to talk if you sit on this seat. Then give it a go
|Smile at a stranger when they walk by
|Super simple! Just smile at someone
|Encourage local businesses to bring out some pot plants or put planter boxes on the footpath
|Businesses that engage with and add to the street are more likely to make a sale
|Host a best-dressed shop window competition
|Encourage local businesses to make a special effort to dress up their shop window or façade. Subiaction encouraged local businesses to “paint the town pink” during their Subilicious event
|Create a Food Forest
|Australia is a rich country indeed if we can outlaw the growing of food on public land. Work with your local government to find land to plant fruit trees and then help care for them
|Herbs grown in planters
|Grow herbs in planter outside your home, business or in your town centre
|Create a community garden
|Everyone loves a community garden! But it can take a lot of work. So, make sure you are well prepared. Or start small and go from there
|Hallway dinners in apartment blocks
|Live in an apartment? Why not bring your dinner out into the hallway as a way to meet and share a few laughs with your neighbours
|Create a positive Facebook page/group for local people and businesses
|Social media can be a good way to connect your community, but make sure it is positive!
|Story-telling nights around a campfire
|This is an idea for the colder months. Find a suitable place for a campfire and encourage people to tell stories
|Promote or get involved with Garage Sale Trail
|The Garage Sale Trail is a weekend of garage sales around Australia. Make some money, meet some people and declutter! (Town Teams can use it as a fundraiser)
|Community plant swap
|Garden enthusiasts love to get together to talk about and share plants. A community plant swap is like a swap meet for plants
|Create a book club
|Working bee to improve a space
|Find a space that needs some love and do a blitz on it
|Create a new tradition for your street/place
|OK this is a bit different. But use your imagination ….
|Put a seat out on your verge or nature strip
|Encourage people to linger a while. Maybe put some kids toys out or create a small nature play area. Welcome people and they usually come
Get creative and come up with your own ideas. Local people are the experts of your place!