Celebrating 35 Years: The Neighborhood Works
35 Facts for CNT’s 35 Years: Each week we’ll expand on one fun fact. Enjoy!
#2 The Neighborhood Works
They were the days of disco. Saturday Night Fever was #1 at the box office. The BeeGees had two of Billboard’s Top 10 singles. Jimmy Carter, while not so “disco,” was president. Inflation was on the rise, and the U.S. was creeping towards the precipice of an unprecedented energy crisis. It was January, 1978.
In Chicago, a team of community activists led by Scott Bernstein, Jesse Auerbach, and Kathy Tholin launched an information service, in print form. It was designed to help neighborhood organizations, economic development groups, and individuals take action to improve the viability and health of communities. They called it The Neighborhood Works, and its spirit and influence are felt yet today.
The founding editors (Scott, Jesse, and Kathy) opened the inaugural issue with a welcome, a bit of a mission statement, and a definition of what “neighborhood technology” meant at the time and how it could be developed. In a way, it was the Google Reader or news aggregator of its time, compiling news stories, scientific research and DIY tips on topics from food to energy to housing to jobs.
Over the years, several committed individuals served as volunteers, artists, advisors, and editors. Their efforts were widely appreciated and remembered fondly. Mary Fran Riley, Vice President of Development & Communications at Accion Chicago, described how, “In days before the Internet, The Neighborhood Works was an invaluable source of information for those of us working in community development.”
Just as printed newsletters like The Neighborhood Works evolved into modern tools like listservs, user-groups, blogs, and tweets, CNT has evolved from clearinghouse and connector to researcher and innovator. Our work is as important as ever, and we can’t help but think about what we will be in another 35 years!
We’re celebrating CNT’s 35 years of impact on sustainable urban development through 35 weeks of posts like this one. If you have a story or picture from our past, please share it with Anjuli@cnt.org. Thanks!
CNT’s work is made possible, in part, through generous support from individual donors. Please click here to make a gift in honor of our 35th anniversary.
Next week: #3 Deep Tunnel