Building a sense of community with your neighbors not only makes your life more meaningful, but it can also make your neighborhood safer. If your neighbors feel connected to each other they are more likely to look out for one another and let each other know about any suspicious activity they notice. It’s way too easy to simply nod and smile at your neighbors as you get in your car each morning and never actually get to know any of them. Fostering a sense of community takes some thought and effort, as well as a desire for connection. Here are a few ideas to consider when trying to build a feeling of community:
It may seem obvious, but it’s almost impossible to create a sense of community if you don’t get outside regularly and interact with your neighbors. Make an effort to take a walk every evening with your kids or dog. Smile and say hello to everyone you see, and introduce yourself if you feel comfortable. Even just spending more time on your front porch instead of in the backyard can lead to more frequent interactions with neighbors.
Throw a Block Party
Throwing a block party is a great way to get to know everyone on your block and add a fun neighborhood event to everyone’s summer calendar. Coordinating a block party is easier if recruit a few neighbors to help, which will further cement your new sense of community. Just be sure to look up regulations for your city, as some locations require permits for block parties.
Start a Community Garden
If your neighborhood already has a community garden, participating in it is a great way to get to know your neighbors, and a fun summer activity for kids, too. If there isn’t an existing community garden and you have a green thumb, you can start one yourself. The American Community Gardening Association has great tips for getting started.
Do Some Online Networking
While in-person interactions are important, don’t overlook the power of online networking. Join or start a Facebook group dedicated to your neighborhood, where neighbors can introduce themselves and share helpful information. Another idea is to join the neighborhood-specific social media app NextDoor and get to know your neighbors that way.
Be Respectful and Thoughtful
To create a sense of community between respectful neighbors, you should model the behavior and attitude you’d most like to see. This means taking good care of your yard, avoiding excessive noise and other behaviors that could be considered a nuisance by neighbors, and generally treating your neighbors how you would like to be treated. If you notice a neighbor is elderly, has a newborn baby, or is injured, go the extra mile and offer to shovel their sidewalks or mow their front lawn.
By making an extra effort to get to know your neighbors, you will soon feel like you live in a true, thriving community.