As I prepared a blog post wrapping up Windermere Mercer Island’s Community Service Day (CSD) 2016, I was pondering how to keep the good feeling of CSD going throughout the year. I did some research on ways to build community in our neighborhoods. Each article I read touted using our front yards as gathering spots so we can get to know our neighbors better. But there were other inspiring suggestions that appeared in several of the articles. This blog post features 9 of these noteworthy neighborhood building ideas I gleaned from my research. Enjoy!
- Establish a tool library: Is there a community center or church in your neighborhood with a bit of extra space? Ask them for permission to set up a tool library there and enlist your neighbors for donations of extra tools, or rarely used tools, to help save space in their own garages and help those who don’t already own a leaf blower, kicker, or chain saw but need to use one for the day.
- Build a little free library: Take a book, share a book. Help share the joy of reading your neighborhood.
- Go on more walks & bike rides: Hitting the pavement more often is a great way to get to know your neighbors. Say hi when they are out front as you pass by.
- Establish a care force in your neighborhood: Arrange meals for neighbors during an illness, help elderly neighbors with errands. Host emergency prep workshops to get organized for an emergency and teach helpful skills to each other.
- Create an annual “barn raising” tradition: Volunteer crews help neighbors in need with projects around their homes.
- Host summer movie nights: Turn your drive way into an outdoor theatre by projecting a movie on your garage door. Invite your neighbors to join you.
- Add a nice sized front porch to your home: We’re seeing the front porch making a comeback in some new construction neighborhoods. Consider adding to the size of your entry, making it more of a gathering space, if a new porch is in your near future.
- Add layers of privacy: Consider using your landscaping to add layers of filters and privacy instead of tall fencing. The layers will provide boundaries while remaining permeable.
- Organize summer potluck parties: Draw neighbors together by sharing a meal. Set up tables in a couple of adjoining yards, or close off the street for a short period of time if it won’t impede traffic to the whole community.
If you and you neighbors are already doing some of these activities, please share your experiences in the comment section. What’s been working, what did not work out so well? Let’s learn from each other and endeavor to make our neighborhoods nicer places to live on a daily basis!