25 ways to strengthen your community(Read article summary)
Providing people with ways to come together as friends, neighbors, and citizens creates a firm foundation that enables a neighborhood to solve problems and seize opportunities.
The neighborhood is the basic building block of human civilization, whether in a big city, small town, or suburban community. Itâ€™s also the place where you can have the most influence in making a better world.
These suggestions, drawn from my bookÂ The Great Neighborhood BookÂ (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 seizeÂ opportunities.
This is drawn from a presentation I regularly give to community, civic, academic, professional, and business groups. For more information, seeÂ Jay Walljasper.com.
1. Give people a place toÂ hang-out.
2. Give people something toÂ see.
3. Give people something toÂ do.
4. Give people a place to sitÂ down.
5. Give people a safe, comfortable place toÂ walk.
6. Give people a safe, comfortable place toÂ bike.
7. Give people reliable, comfortable publicÂ transportation.
8. Make the streetsÂ safe â€“ from crime.
9. Make the streets safe â€“ fromÂ traffic.
10. Remember the streets belong to everyone, not justÂ motorists.
11. Donâ€™t forget about the needs of olderÂ neighbors.
12. Donâ€™t forget about the needs ofÂ kids.
13. Let your community go to theÂ dogs.
14. Reclaim front yards as socialÂ spaces.
15. Remember the best neighborhoods, even in big cities, feel likeÂ villages.
16. Plan for winter weather as well as sunny, warmÂ days.
17. Donâ€™t fear density â€“ people enjoy being around otherÂ people.
18. Donâ€™t give up hope â€“ great changes are possible when neighbors getÂ together.
19. Build on whatâ€™s good in your community to make things evenÂ better.
20. Remember the power of the commons: people working together for the benefit ofÂ everyone in the neighborhood.
21. Never underestimate the power of a shared meal to move people intoÂ action.
22. Start with small steps â€“ like plantingÂ flowers.
23. Become a community booster, watchdog,Â patriot.
24. Learn from other neighborhoods in your town and around theÂ world.
25. Take the time to have fun and enjoy whatâ€™s already great about yourÂ neighborhood.
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