Our neighborhoods are where we spend a majority of our time and where our kids first learn about the outside world. So, isn’t it important to make them everything they can be?
A lot has been written about improving neighborhoods – a recent Google search yielded almost 13 million hits – so there’s no shortage of research material. Here are some ways you can change your little part of the world.
Get Involved in Town/City Government
Municipal government meetings may not be exciting, but these meetings are where you get information and have a say on issues and initiatives. Some large cities have begun to stream their city council meetings online (and many others televise the proceedings), so you can keep yourself informed. Staying up on the issues in your community will help steer you to a cause or initiative you believe in and where you can make a difference.
A clean neighborhood is not just attractive, it’s safer. It becomes a better place for your kids to play and offers others (including potential buyers/neighbors) a good image of the community. Start with your own yard, then get neighbors together one day a month to clean up public areas. And pick up litter everywhere, not just on your own property.
Attend Community Events
Attending community festivals, block parties and barbeques makes friends of neighbors, and strengthens community bonds. If this isn’t happening, take the initiative yourself and throw a barbeque or party. Others will inevitably follow.
Take time to enjoy your neighborhood
Visit the local grocery story, coffee shop, farmers’ market and library. Explore your neighborhood, jog its streets, and encourage your neighbors to do the same by learning from other communities. For example, more than 100 cities across the world have joined the League of Slow Cities, predicated on the idea that savoring your surroundings (just like savoring your food) contributes to a meaningful life.