Cities are cold and impersonal, but many neighborhoods are working to promote a greater sense of warmth and community. When neighborhoods work together, there’s much they can achieve. From beautifying their streets to watching each others’ backs, there’s a lot to be said for a “village” atmosphere within a neighborhood. Creating the right atmosphere is a good place to begin. Here’s how to get started.
1. Unifying Themes
Simple touches like street signage with a difference can help your neighborhood to set itself apart from the rest. And while people can and will do what they like with their properties, it’s good to preserve architectural landmarks that hark back to their beginnings. In newer neighborhoods, liaise with developers and town planners to see if they can help promote the building of homes that are in keeping with your neighborhood’s goals.
2. Host Fun Events to Meet and Greet
Make use of parks or get assistance from local schools or sports clubs to host meet-and-greet events where neighbors can gather and get to know each other. Walks, fun-runs, high teas, and the like are great opportunities to bring the neighborhood together in a fun, sociable environment where they can get to know one another better.
You can even turn a few simple activities that improve the looks of your neighborhood into meet-and-greets. For example, if your local authorities aren’t doing a good enough job of clearing up litter, locals can get involved in a street cleanup project that promotes pride in their neighborhood.
3. Host an Online Group
Online neighborhood groups give residents a place to get advice from one another, advertise any special services they offer, report things they aren’t happy about, or call for community help in emergencies. Working together, community groups like this can leverage assistance from local authorities, but they will require active moderators with a mission! Participating in community groups helps people to feel that they belong while getting to know their neighborhood and its people better in the process.
4. Get as Many People as Possible Involved
As local heroes begin to emerge, involve them in your plans to build a community that feels like a village and not just another suburb. Each person will implement ideas based on their expertise and passions.
For example, a keen birder might host birding walks in a local green belt, or a horticulturist could coordinate work on a community garden. Be sure to involve existing groups within your community to create a unified effort. For instance, a church youth club may be glad to host movie nights or invite residents to its coffee bar. Circulate a regular events calendar and encourage participation from clubs, societies, and other organizations.
A Strong Sense of Community for a Better Neighborhood
Just as a house should be more than just a place to live, a neighborhood should be more than just an area that houses people. By fostering a sense of community, we recapture the pleasures (and some of the drawbacks) of village life. On a balance, however, promoting pride in your neighborhood and encouraging mutual support among its residents will make for a stronger community that works together when confronting challenges and in which people are able to connect on a personal level too.