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Unit Social Organization

plan, people, block and neighborhood

UNIT SOCIAL ORGANIZATION, a so ciological experiment which aims to bring all the people into a more active, intelligent and continuous participation in their own affairs, to vitalize municipal government and bring it closer to the lives of the people. The move ment for this social plan was born in New York in 1916 and soon spread westward. The National Social Unit Organization advertised in 1916 for a community of 15,000 people some where in the United States which would be willing to try out its plan. Sixteen cities re sponded favorably, and Cincinnati, with well federated social activities, a fine municipal university and with one of the best general hospitals in the United States, was chosen. The Mohawk-Brighton district of Cincinnati, a section populated largely by a native-born working class of Americans of skilled occupa tions, was selected as the experimental labora tory there. The original plan called for an ex periment of three years, at the end of which time the work done was to be evaluated and a decision reached as to its extension. As it worked out in the Mohawk-Brighton district, two fundamental ideas of organization are involved. First, for the purpose of procuring the constant, active Stipervision of 100 per cent of the people over community affairs and also for the purpose of procuring representa tion by persons who actually know the people they represent. A block organization was

formed consisting of a block committee, or council of seven, elected by preferential ballot i by all the men and women in the block more than 18 years old, who in turn selected the block worker or block executive who sits on a central citizens' committee and forms one half of the neighborhood administration.

Groups were organized from the commu nity, physicians to plan for public health, nurses to plan nursing, recreation workers to study and plan for the community's play needs, the trade unions to report the workingman's point of view in the solution of neighborhood prob lems, business men to assist in the neighbor hood business administration and teachers to plan a program of neighborhood education. Gifford l'inchot was chosen chairman of the National Citizens' Council of the Social Unit Organization. The social unit promoters have a distinct theory of unit organization, and their whole attitude toward its application is experi mental. Having successfully applied the prin ciples of organization for three years in one district, they are preparing to extend on a city wide basis only those parts of the plan whose results have been demonstrated as beneficial.