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25 ways to strengthen your community

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Manuel Valdes/AP/File

(Read caption) Two volunteers hold the top of a spiral slide being installed at a neighborhood park in Kent, Wash., in 2011. Communities are strengthened when neighbors come together to eat, play, and solve mutual problems, says author Jay Walljasper.

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The neighborhood is the basic building block of human civilization, whether in a big city, small town, or suburban community. It’s also the place where you can have the most influence in making a better world.

These suggestions, drawn from my book The Great Neighborhood Book (a collaboration with Project for Public Spaces), are focused on strengthening the sense of community and spirit of the commons by providing people with ways to come together as friends, neighbors, and citizens. That creates a firm foundation that enables a neighborhood to solve problems and seize opportunities.

This is drawn from a presentation I regularly give to community, civic, academic, professional, and business groups. For more information, see Jay

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1. Give people a place to hang-out.

2. Give people something to see.

3. Give people something to do.

4. Give people a place to sit down.

5. Give people a safe, comfortable place to walk.

6. Give people a safe, comfortable place to bike.

7. Give people reliable, comfortable public transportation.

8. Make the streets safe – from crime.

9. Make the streets safe – from traffic.

10. Remember the streets belong to everyone, not just motorists.


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