Human beings are social creatures. The current high degree of individual isolation in the United States appears to this layperson to be at an all-time high. The culprits? Who knows? Television, suburban sprawl, migration and job turnover, fear of strangers and crime… the internet?
So… here’s some good news. In many of the neighborhoods in which Front Porch Forum hosts a forum, people are throwing block parties in order to meet their neighbors (and reconnect with those they already know). In most cases, the neighborhood forum was both the catalyst to gather and the means to issue the invitation. In others, people are using their forum to invite a broader swath of the neighborhood than just the folks they know.
One forum member in the Old North End challenged her neighbors:
I appreciate reading everyone’s experience and stories on how to solve the recycling problem and crime. However, I think one of the long term solutions is to stop being reactive and start having discussions about how to raise the social capital of this neighborhood. Can we start talking about events, social activities, neighborly gestures and other positive things we can start doing to benefit the neighborhood?
After ten days and many good responses, she wrote again to the neighborhood:
Hi – Thanks to everyone who responded to my call for social capital building. To start us off, I would like to invite everyone in the ONE Central Forum to my place on Sunday from 1-4 pm for dessert and coffee. If you’d like to bring something, that would be great… but not necessary.
Other recent examples occurred in: Hinesburg, Richmond, South Burlington, Charlotte, and neighborhoods in Burlington: Birchcliff, Appletree Point, Staniford, and many in the Five Sisters.