Street by Street  Bringing neighbours together

Street by Street is a national project in local neighbourhood community building and social infrastructure development.

Click here to go to the Street by Street Project Website

The goal of Street by Street is to revive the practice of community, and the art of neighbourliness, on a large scale across Australia.

It aims to re-kindle connections between neighbours that might once have formed spontaneously but which in our day and age require a little facilitation.

Its model is local neighbourhood groups in small population precincts of between 200 and 400 households.

Read on to understand how you might fit into the Street by Street model and the possibilities for bringing your community together.

Why Street by Street?

The need for social infrastructure at the neighbourhood level and the life-changing benefits of living in a connected community have been long proven. Governments, policy-makers and researchers know these benefits very well, but they've been unable to create this social infrastructure at the neighbourhood level. Despite some outstanding exceptions, many parts of Australia are without vibrant local neighbourhood communities.

Since 2007, the Centre for Civil Society has brought residents, social innovators, community builders and policy-makers together in several forums to explore how community life in local neighbourhoods can be re-developed on a large scale. The components of a working model have been put together, drawing on initiatives and experiences around Australia and overseas.

On 29 April 2014, the model was refined through a design lab process in Melbourne involving 45 participants. The model that emerged is outlined below. A project implementation team has been established and your participation is invited.

Your involvement

Please register your interest in participating in the project through the online form below.

Sign up to participate in Street by Street (there is no cost).

The inaugural Project Manager of Street by Street is Irene Opper, based in Melbourne.
[photo, right]

Irene may be contacted at or on 0413 706 233.

The project website is at

The Model

local neighbourhood group is convened in a precinct of between 200 and 400 households.

group is an informal, unincorporated network of neighbours, with one or more people taking on the role of community connector. A group has three characteristics: local (it operates within walking distance), independent (it is free to choose its own activities), and informal.

The group may choose to partner with a community organisation (a community partner) which may be a neighbourhood house, a service club, a community services provider, a church, a school, a scouts or guides group, or a sporting club.

A community partner is a formal, incorporated body which assists a local neighbourhood group to form, helps meet its practical requirements, provides guidance, and participates in its activities as appropriate. Local councils may also play this role.

A local neighbourhood group can be initiated either by a resident in a precinct, or by a community partner, either of whom can identify and select a person to act as a community connector.

To get started, a community connector makes a simple plan for how, where and when neighbours may come together. When an initial gathering has taken place, and the group has chosen its initial focus, the community connector advises the project manager and the group is posted on the website.

An online social network for each local neighbourhood group will be made available, where it is wanted. If a group doesn't want any online network, that's ok.

website will supply information on the location of each local group, with contact details. 

A project manager will guide the development of local neighbourhood groups, provide an Information Kit for starting up, organise information and training events as required, and support group convenors and community partners.

A national reference group will steer the development of Street by Street as a national project.

Project Partners are local governments, state and national organisations, and universities that wish to partner with Street by Street for the development of the project.


Photo: Street by Street Design Lab, 29 April 2014.

Example 1 A resident hears about Street by Street and gets the Information Kit. She talks to a couple of local services and finds that the neighbourhood house would like to be a partner in helping her form a group. She invites the 300 households around her to a morning tea and they discuss what they could do with, and for, each other.

Example 2 A disability service wants residents of their unit to have more interaction with their neighbours. They read the Information Kit and decide that they will help a group form and ask the group if some people would like to connect with their clients. They understand that groups may choose a number of areas of interest so they decide to do a letterdrop asking for people who would like to convene a group. 3 people respond and they work with them to arrange the first meeting.

The Possibilities

Some neighbourhood groups may wish to focus on bringing neighbours together to get to know each other.
Others will choose a practical task or project to work on together. We don't mind. Many things may eventuate either way - friendships, swapping of home-grown produce, a social life within walking distance, a helping hand, kids finding playmates. We do have suggestions for a focus, and we offer the following menu to choose from. Or a group may decide on another focus that is just right for its area. local network for helping people with ageing, disability or chronic illness challenges with practical tasks (putting the bins out, getting a few items of shopping, help with gardening, walking the dog) so that residents with these challenges can live in their own homes for longer with support from neighbours; local network in areas of high risk of natural disasters for disaster alerts, information sharing, risk prevention and response arrangements; local gardening network for people growing vegetables and fruit, to swap their produce, and exchange ideas, tools, and advice; local buying group for electricity, gas, telecommunications, or food; supported living network for people with disabilities and illnesses living in community, with a relationships focus not just practical tasks; local sharing network for tools, lawn mowers, recipes, skills etc; ride-share, car-pooling local network;

a neighbourhood focus on community safety issues.


Neighbours not volunteers

Participants in a Street by Street group are not volunteers, they are people in a voluntary relationship with their neighbours, as neighbours. 

The aim of Street by Street is to recover the practice, and art, of neighbourliness. We donít want to surround this activity with excessive rules and regulations, nor do we want to subject participants to the usual procedures that volunteers in formal organizations are subject to. 

Street by Street has no political or religious affiliations.

It is our intention to develop Street by Street as a facilitated network combining simple informal neighbourhood connections, with resourcing and coordination on a large scale across Australia.

Information Kit

Street by Street Information Kits for convenors, participants and agencies wishing to support groups are available at

National Reference Group

Expressions of Interest are invited for participants in the Street by Street National Reference Group.

The Reference Group will support the development of the project around Australia. If you would like to play an active role as a member of the National Reference Group, express your interest in the form below.

Get Involved

You can sign up for the Street by Street mailing list and / or blog at


  © Centre for Civil Society 2015