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Valuing Community in Traditional Neighborhoods

Posted on June 23, 2008 by
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The New York Times carried an op-ed about forming community bonds in existing neighborhoods. A do-it-yourself approach, with no investment needed, other than time and effort. Peter Lovenheim writes,

Why is it that in an age of cheap long-distance rates, discount airlines and the Internet, when we can create community anywhere, we often don’t know the people who live next door?

Maybe my neighbors didn’t mind living this way, but I did. I wanted to get to know the people whose houses I passed each day – not just what they do for a living and how many children they have, but the depth of their experience and what kind of people they are.

Frankly, this reminds me precisely of what my parents have done in every neighborhood they’ve ever lived in. Knock on doors. Invite folks over for dinner. Start a phone list, let everyone know the kid’s birthdays. They once held a fundraiser for one man’s experimental cancer treatment that was mostly not covered by insurance. A car dealer donated a car for a raffle, and $25 tickets were sold. They’ve never, as far as I know, gone so far as to invite themselves on a sleepover, but there is a real sense of community that grows in every place they’ve lived.

Read the article on Creating Community in Your Neighborhood


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