Fred RogersAs government services decline due to budget deficits, a slew of “social entrepreneurs” have stepped in to do public services traditionally handled by government agencies.

Blockboard is one such social entrepreneurship doing just that.

What is blockboard?

Blockboard’s mission is to build stronger neighborhoods with an app through which neighbors can interact with one another. Users can report potholes and graffiti directly to the city, alert each other about crime and vandalism through a “blockwatch,” ask their neighbors questions, and post pictures of lost and found items. It’s like a neighborhood bulletin board on your phone.

At its core, blockboard is about creating a sense of community in increasingly isolated urban areas. Seriously, how many of us actually know our neighbors’ names? The app lets you pick your neighborhood and then limits posts to other users in the same neighborhood. Blockboard hopes that by connecting people to their neighbors, users will be inspired to work together to improve their neighborhood.

Blockboard has had a Mission neighborhood app for a while – but it just launched across the entire city – in all 30 neighborhoods. To celebrate their expansion in San Francisco, blockboard has announced a Build a Better Block contest.

How Does the Build a Better Block Contest Work?

The first five San Francisco neighborhoods to sign up 500 members on blockboard will each get $5,000 to build a better block in their neighborhood. To qualify, all you have to do is install the app and sign up for blockboard, and then ask your neighbors to do the same. The money’s allocation is decided by the 500 participating neighbors and must go towards neighborhood improvement projects that benefit the neighborhood as a whole, such as a block party, garden, public art, playground improvement, etc. And no – a new flatscreen TV to host Giants game parties does not count!

Hyperlocal Apps Help Build Community

We may not always want to be friends with our neighbors, but there is a lot to gain from the connections. We face real issues each day in our neighborhoods, and many things in San Francisco need to be Reset. Some issues are big, like public safety – others are smaller, like potholes and garbage. It can be difficult to navigate how to solve these problems especially in a city like San Francisco.

Technology and web 2.0 tools like the blockboard app can help can reconnect neighbors and empower them to engage government and improve their neighborhoods. This is what Reset is all about. We’re working hard to encourage San Francisco to adopt Gov 2.0 tools to help make our city and community better for all of us.