Santa Monica, CA
To foster better connections and community spirit by making it easier for citizens to apply for and get approval on block parties.
Only 20% of community members regularly interact with people who live nearby, and more than 30% don’t know their neighbors at all. This disconnect can be critical when a city experiences hardships like natural disasters, blackouts or other challenges.
Santa Monica’s Office of Civic Wellbeing felt that increasing the number of block parties in the city would help neighbors foster stronger connections. In its initial wellbeing surveys, community members shared that they wanted to get to know their neighbors, but weren’t sure how. The team zeroed in on replacing the arduous, paper-based block party application process as one opportunity to increase local connections.
Previously, block party applicants had to fill out a long application, collect neighborhood support signatures on paper, and then walk the entire package around to multiple city departments (in different buildings) to get sign-off. The result? In a community of almost 100,000 people there were only four block parties!
Thankfully, the city’s Traffic Management Division of the Planning and Community Development Department was open to new ideas and new methods.
In late 2018, Santa Monica moved their block party application process online using ClearGov’s ClearForms solution and the change was noticeable immediately. With an easy-to-complete, mobile-friendly online application, more residents decided to create events in their communities.
They went from four block pirates to more than 35 block parties in just their first year using ClearForms. Even more impressive is that staff didn’t need to spend five times more time to manage the increase in volume. Because ClearForms streamlined and automated communication with applicants and notified reviewers when they had a new application to approve, applications moved through the multi-departmental review process quickly. And applicants received a link to share with their neighbors to get approval online.