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Block Parties and Block Party Kits

Can we make the block party permitting process easier, clearer, and more delightful? 

THE EXPERIMENT

If you want to take civic action, host a block party. This is the call from Mayor Wu. However, hosting a block party takes effort. It takes time to organize your community and it takes time to get permits. All that before you get to the fun stuff. We are setting out to deliver a faster, clearer, and improved Block Party experience for Bostonians. To do this, our team is improving block party permitting by:

  1.  partnering with City departments to help guide constituents through the process, 
  2. updating  the City’s website to better describe the steps, enabling better coordination between City departments, and 
  3. offering Block Party kits to make Block Party festivities easier to plan for all.

 

WHY WE'RE DOING THIS

  • We wanted to test whether service improvements, clearer instructions, constituent support, and delightful incentives to an existing permit process would increase the number of applications received and lead to a more equitable distribution of activities.
  • We wanted to build on Mayor Wu’s commitment to the Block Party as a connector of our civic fabric, especially after the pandemic and in an increasingly divided democracy.

Block Party Cool Kit in action
August 6, 2022 - Block Party Cool Kit in action at the Open Streets Boston - Blue Hill Avenue in Roxbury. (Mayor's Office Photo by Mike Mejia)

WHAT WE'RE HOPING TO LEARN

  • Can a clearer online process and engaged constituent services team (Office of Neighborhood Services, 311, Office of Civic Organizing) increase Block Party applications equitably across the city?
  • Does a shorter turnaround for the Block Party Play Street Closing permit make it easier for organizers to plan their events?
  • Can delightful incentives like Block Party kits make planning more accessible and enjoyable for constituents?
  •  Can this improved Block Party application process create more flexibility, reduce the burden to City staff, and result in faster application review, and therefore a better experience for residents?
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