Networked-Neighborhoods for Eco-Conservation

2008 - 2011
Team Leader
Jon Bartholic
Michigan State University
Project Website

The Networked-Neighborhoods for Eco-Conservation (NECO) team is leading friendly competitions within and among Great Lakes communities to conserve water, manage runoff and adopt watershed improvement activities.

It is “networking” individual environmental improvement activities on a neighborhood level and guiding the installation of rain barrels, timing of water uses, utilization of rain gardens, and expanded use of permeable pavements and landscaping. The team is supporting neighborhood groups in Racine, WI; Toledo, OH; Grand Rapids, MI; as well as an 8-county region in west Michigan. Participants will monitor their own actions and those of their neighbors, via the Internet. Local watershed and neighborhood organization websites will help neighborhoods identify where practices could be most effective.

NECO is exploring how organizations can better collaborate with community members, measure the ecological impact of water management activities and communicate that information.

When completed the system will allow users to map environmental improvement practices, add photos, visualize activities in their neighborhoods, and share practices with others with over 50 social information sharing tools. Users will be able to calculate the volumes of water managed, and other environmental benefits provided by their practices. Other features include a Star Awards program, Top 10 Most Liked Practices, and a ‘group’ function that allows users to add themselves to existing groups or create new ones that will promote friendly competition. NECO also scans the Weather Underground website for alerts of severe storm events so users can lessen negative impacts at those times.

Partner organizations piloting the NECO system include the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, the West Michigan Strategic Alliance, the Toledo Ohio Rain Garden Initiative, and the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network in Racine, WI.

Please visit the project website for more information.

Project Categories

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  • Leadership

Project Files

  • Download Project Profile (PDF)