Google Chooses Its Fiber-Networked City Of The Future: Kansas City

YES! Google will build an ultra high-speed broadband network in Kansas City, Kansas. According to their FAQs, construction will begin at the end of 2011 and service may be available to some residents as early as the first quarter of 2012.

They received applications from 1,100 communities across the US, including a number of nominations from our own neighborhoods in KC.

My favorite entrance monument photos

I always encourage customers to upload a photo of their neighborhood entrance monument to their eNeighbors website. Over time, we’ve collected a lot of great photos. Here’s my top 10 favorite neighborhood entrance monument photos of 2010, starting with #10.

10. WhiteHorse

9. Parkhill Manor

8. Highlands Ranch

7. Nottingham by the Green / Knightsbrooke

6. Forest View

5. Arlington Park

4. Nottingham Forest South

3. LionsGate

2. Western Auto Lofts (This one is sitting on top of a building)

1. Coffee Creek Crossing

Neighborhood Watch and Social Networking

From TechNewsWorld: Neighborhood Watch 2.0:

City budgets are straining police forces in many cities, and in some cases citizens have seized upon social networking technologies to help guard against crime in their own neighborhoods. It’s unclear whether neighborhood watch efforts actually make people safer, but statistics indicate that neighborhoods with high levels of resident cohesion typically have less crime.

This is another example of how better communication (or cohesion) in a neighborhood can help make it safer.

eNeighbors Traffic Reports vs User Feedback

I monitor the traffic reports for our website (eNeighbors.com) at least once a day and get caught up in the upticks and downturns in traffic. The data that we can track is really helpful like pageviews and visits, which gives me a measure of the health of our site, but it lacks the intangible perspective that you get from user feedback.

In the case of South Village, they have 318 registered users on the website from 287 homes. This is good to know, but what does it mean? Can they communicate with these residents effectively? How can we test this?

One way to test this is to simply ask your users, which is exactly what a communications committee member in South Village did. He simply posted an article to see if “anyone was out there”. (An ingenious and completely tangible way to track usage and response.) I posted a screenshot of the article with the comment string below so you can see. In total, he received 86 comments, which is pretty impressive considering that there are only 318 registered users on the website. Anyone who blogs knows that this is a tremendous response rate.

I think the response was awesome and it gave me a great feeling that their website was so frequented. The comments help to give better insight into our user’s attitude and feelings about eNeighbors that you cannot get from traffic data. The comments also solidify our feelings that our automatic email newsletter and other notifications are working to promote traffic and usage.

Some of my favorite comments include:

  1. I try to log onto eNeighbors at least once a day when I can, because I want to know what my fellow homeowners are discussing. I don’t always respond to postings, as I am just one Board member and don’t represent the views of the Board as a whole. What I do is try to find out what topics are generating high levels of interest among homeowners so that, if necessary, we can include these topics in future meeting agendas.
  2. we read weekly and sometimes more! love this!
  3. We read it regularly. Thanks for taking the time to do it.
  4. Wouldn’t miss it for the world. 🙂
  5. Yup, we read them as soon as something is posted..
  6. We’re tuned in. Thanks.
  7. Hello – I look at this quite a bit – especially since I get the alerts regularly.
  8. I read this site whenever the email informs me of new posting. I set my account to receive email daily from EN.
  9. I look up eneighbors every day when I am home (I was out last two days).
    I do read all the postings and the comments that follow and make notes on them, but usually do not make any comments. (Any comments I make are my own and do not represent the Board’s views). I do believe that all Board Members do read the postings on eneighbors.
  10. I read when I see new things that I want to hear more about. (Get the reminder weekly.)

 

Is there anyone out there?

Gourmet Groups (I love email like this)

From Jason at Curry Association Management:

“Chris, my Wilshire Farms community has had tremendous success with their gourmet group.  So much so that they are wanting to break into 2…possibly 3 separate groups.

Is there a way to easily break one group into multiple groups?”

I have noticed that Gourmet Groups like the “Gourmet Gals” in Nottingham Forest South have taken off lately in several of our communities. If you haven’t started one in your neighborhood you may consider doing so.

National League of Cities on Strong Neighborhoods

I’ve always felt that strong neighborhoods are the key to affecting positive change in a community – especially in city government. My Dad, who is an Overland Park City Councilman, echoes this sentiment.

By my definition, a strong neighborhood is a local community of people that frequently communicate to socialize, pool resources, and solve problems.

eNeighbors helps neighborhoods develop stronger bonds through more efficient communication online and in many cases, our neighborhood websites are used to organize residents around important causes like reducing crime and working with the city to improve new developments.

The National League of Cities recently shared their “Lessons Learned” from community-based initiatives in collaboration with local government. (The full list of lessons is available here.)

Unfortunately, the list doesn’t provide anything actionable, but it is good food for thought. I do want to pick a bone with the last bullet point in their Lessons Learned though:

“The Internet is a powerful new tool for civic engagement. However, there is greater power in building relationships through face-to-face communication. While President Obama had a powerful Internet-connected organization, even more importantly he had a very strong on the ground organization built through individual contacts, house meetings and local actions.”

The above comment is a great example of the hesitation shown by old-line organizations fearful of how the Internet may replace face-to-face communication, but it’s exactly the opposite in my experience: the Internet increases face-to-face communication. The example that I always reference is the Nottingham Forest South Easter Egg Hunt.

The year before our website was in place, the Nottingham Forest South neighborhood relied on a paper flyer to communicate. They announced their annual Easter Egg Hunt in the April newsletter and 25 kids showed up. The next year, the website was in place and an email was sent out – 150 kids attended.

My point is that the Internet fosters face-to-face communication, it doesn’t replace it. And maybe even more importantly, when face-to-face communication is not possible, communication doesn’t stop, it can continue online.

If I’m the National League of Cities, I’m doing everything I can to research what works best in online communication and then encouraging my members to invest money in the online communication tools that make it easier for neighborhoods to interact with their elected representation and affect change. (HINT: A key component to this is real-time communication.)

Neighborhoods truly struggle with establishing good communication channels with their residents. If you send out a paper flyer, it’s costly (first class postage is now $0.44), people throw it away without reading it, and it contains information that is at least 30 days old. If you organize block captains they lose interest, or move away, or are on vacation when you need to get the word out.

But when neighborhoods can establish a real-time online communication channel that is sustainable over time, they can become organized and solve any challenge that they face. They can email and mobilize everyone in seconds, literally, in seconds. They can provide up-to-date and relevant information on a daily or weekly basis and it isn’t dependent on any single person to function so it will be sustainable.

The bottom-line: if you help neighborhoods establish better communication, you will form a stronger neighborhood.

Even simpler: better communication = stronger neighborhoods.

And just for fun: better communication, better communication, better communication.

Our Kansas City Neighborhoods

We have neighborhoods in 9 states now that range in size from 35 homes to 2300 homes. Our core market is the Kansas City metropolitan area. A list of neighborhoods that are currently online in the Kansas City area is provided below:

Arlington Park  (Olathe, KS) 
Autumn Ridge (Olathe, KS) 
Briarcliff West (Kansas City, MO) 
Communities of Northbrook (Kansas City, MO) 
Coves (Kansas City, MO) 
Coves North (Kansas City, MO)
Crimson Ridge (Shawnee, KS) 
Deer Creek (Overland Park, KS) 
Deerwalk (Shawnee, KS) 
Falcon Valley (Lenexa, KS) 
Forest View (Olathe, KS) 
Grey Oaks (Shawnee, KS) 
Highlands Ranch (Leawood, KS) 
Hills of Walden (Kansas City, MO) 
Homestead Woods (Lenexa/Olathe, KS) 
LeaBrooke (Leawood, KS) 
Links at LionsGate (Overland Park, KS) 
LionsGate (Overland Park, KS) 
Maple Brook Park (Olathe, KS) 
Nottingham by the Green (Overland Park, KS)
Nottingham Forest South (Overland Park, KS) 
Oak Park (Overland Park, KS) 
Oaks Ridge Meadows (Lee’s Summit, MO) 
Oxford Pointe (Overland Park, KS) 
Park Crossing (Overland Park, KS) 
Parkhill Manor (Olathe, KS) 
Parkhurst (Lenexa, KS) 
Parkwood Hills (Olathe, KS) 
Ravenwood Place (Olathe, KS) 
Regency By The Lake (Overland Park, KS) 
Riss Lake (Parkville, MO) 
South Hampton (Olathe, KS) 
Steeplechase (Leawood, KS) 
The Pavilions (Leawood, KS) 
Villas of St. Andrews (Olathe, KS) 
Westwoods (Liberty, MO) 
WhiteHorse  (Leawood, KS) 
Wilshire Farms (Overland Park, KS) 
Woodland Creek (Olathe, KS) 
Woodland Reserve (Lenexa, KS)

If your neighborhood is not online yet please check us out and/or request a demo. We love to hear from property managers, board member, residents, and interested parties.