Cool City Challenge will prototype the Cool Block Program in three California cities... and then take it to scale statewide, nationally, and around the world.


What Is the Cool Block Program?

The Cool Block program helps neighbors become planet-friendly, disaster-resilient, and community-rich. Using a state-of-the-art program and online platform, block-based teams throughout a city meet eight times in each others' homes over a four-month period, to adopt lifestyle practices that:

  • reduce carbon emissions
  • increase disaster resiliency
  • improve health and safety
  • share resources
  • build neighborhood connection

Based on a proven behavior change methodology developed over thirty years of iteration, research, and learning, the Cool Block program synthesizes and brings up to date the best of Empowerment Institute's four award-winning programs.

For more information on The Cool Block program click here to visit our website.

For more information on The Cool Block program click here to visit our website.

What will motivate people to participate?

The proven recruitment methodology developed through these programs taps a universal set of intrinsic motivations. People are searching for: 

  • meaning and purpose
  • social connection
  • a way to make a difference

A block leader uses these motivations to recruit neighbors to participate in the structured eight-meeting program.

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How will it be brought to scale?

Empowerment Institute's behavior-change programs have previously been brought to scale at the block and neighborhood levels. The Cool City Challenge will bring The Cool Block program to scale city-wide. Empowerment Institute's recruitment strategy has achieved 25-61% recruitment rates, depending on the program. 

We will work with existing community organizations, to identify and integrate the types of behavior change and community engagement goals that best serve their needs. They, in turn, will be helping to recruit Cool Block leaders, who will work with Cool City Challenge to recruit teams.

The Cool City Challenge operates at three levels of scale:

The Cool Block - approximately 50-150 people,
based on a principle developed by anthropologist Robin Dunbar.

The Cool Neighborhood - approximately ten cool blocks

The Cool EcoDistrict - approximately ten cool neighborhoods

This enables economies of scale for collaborative consumption.

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