This is a step-by-step guide to how to attend your neighborhood association meeting for city dwellers. If you've ever wondered who made the decision to put up the giant flag or rip up a street or cancel your favorite parade, chances are it's your neighborhood association. They're usually quite powerful.

So if you're remotely interested in your neighborhood, it's definitely in your self interest to go to a meeting at least once. They're a great way to meet your neighbors, get your agenda heard and people watch some of the more unusual people in your neighborhood.

I've been to hundreds of neighborhood association meetings in cities across the country as a regular neighbor and in a professional capacity for past jobs, so I've seen a wide range of meeting types and styles. I'm basing this Instructable on my experience attending my neighborhood association meeting in Duboce Triangle, San Francisco, where I just moved, but my advice will apply to wherever you live. However, if you live in New York City, please be aware that neighborhood association meetings are very different from Community Board meetings; the latter is a special breed of event that has its own special logic.

To do this Instructable, you will need:
-A home
-Some very basic interest in your neighborhood
-Lack of fear of being indoors or sitting down
-Access to a computer, though there are ways around this
-Willingness to take the time to go to a meeting

Going to a neighborhood association meeting is an item on Neighbors Project's Neighbor Checklist.

Step 1: Find Your Neighborhood Association (option 1)

The first step beyond securing a permanent address in some city neighborhood, is to find out which neighborhood association you belong to. Many neighborhoods have one, especially in cities that are prospering, but some don't. If you don't have a neighborhood association, you'll have to start your own, which is a whole other Instructable. (Stay tuned.)

I had a very easy time finding my neighborhood association because their volunteers left me (and all my neighbors) a newsletter on my doorstep. So option one is get lucky and receive a newsletter in the mail or on your doorstep. Since this is actually fairly unusual, be prepared to try Option 2...
The neighborhood association around here does that. It's kind of nice to have a newsletter, but usually it is 60% zoning and permit announcements, such as "after great organization on Mr. Brownnoser's part, several neigborhood representatives showed up at a permit meeting to argue against Mr. Normal putting up a tasteful carport to park his project car in until he can get some spiffy new paint and glass on it. In other news, Mr. Normal, you have 60 days to remove that eyesore from public view." But I don't give them enough credit. Overall, they do great things for the neighborhood, as long as you're not building anything, and all your ugly cars aren't parked streetside. Great tips, love the instructable!
those who cry loudest are herd first.
Its an especially interesting statement with the misspelling. 
terrorism works well too. which is basically what ASSociations do.
Our neighborhood mafia I mean association, charges us a large sum of money to hire illegal immigrants to cut the grass along the main road. It takes an afternoon and a lawn tractor. Would have been more cost effective to buy our own equipment and schedule ourselves turns at it. But then, that's an ASSociation for you.
This doesn't say anything about "calling the shots". This is simply an instructable about going to and participating in neighborhood meetings. Sorry Charlie, that doesn't cut it.
Do they have Neighbourhood Ossociations in the UK? I'm 'briddish'.
Maybe I over looked your mentioning, but making sure you get on the agenda is important. Generally the issue you hope, to address at the meeting is supposed to be on, the published agenda before it can be brought up at the meeting.
I went to my first neighborhood meeting last night, and signed up to help create an emergency plan for our neighborhood: how many people live in each house and do they need any special care, where the gas shut-offs are located, organizing local caches of water, etc... I'll create an Instructable with my progress.
That's wonderful! Congrats on taking that step. We definitely need more emergency prep!
I like these. It makes your home feel better if you know your neighbors and interact. It doesn't hurt that you're also in one of the coolest locations in SF. Duboce triangle rocks!
Agreed! There seems to be more cafes per square foot here than any other place on earth.
Funny and largely my experience too. Sometimes you can't call the shots -- for instance if the church wants to shut down a bar nearby that you like they usually win. I still let people know when I'm uncomfortable associating with the group for certain "group" decisions ... even if it makes me a bit of a black sheep.
Those are good tips; you sound like a responsible neighborhood association member. I personally think it's good to have a few black sheep in every group! The smart bars become members of the neighborhood associations en masse to avoid having to fight from the outside any attempts to make the neighborhood dry. It's hard to stop prohibition movements if you're not already part of the group.

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