Neighborhoods and Community
In both cases, I realized after the fact that I’d made decisions with hidden benefits. I no longer base my love for my neighborhood on mere geography.
Rather, I love my area’s fantastic community. And walking my dog through the streets has helped me integrate within it.
If I were to rewind time, I’d realize that I should stroll a neighborhood before I move there. I should talk to the people in the streets and parks. (And if I walk an area and see no one? Probably not the ‘hood for me.)
If a neighborhood’s community is anemic or nonexistent, its other advantages fade.
Research shows strong links between community and wellbeing. A robust support network means fewer stress-related health issues, lower risks for mental illness, and faster recovery from trauma and illness. I see each of these results in action in my neighborhood:
- My neighbor, who has two young children and a husband who travels for work, has needed emergency babysitting. And when her washer and dryer—and then refrigerator—went on the fritz, she used mine.
- Via e-mail, text, and Facebook, we alert each other about concerning people and activity. We’ve caught thieves and rehomed lost dogs.
- We have neighborhood book clubs, parent groups, wine clubs, and block parties.
- If I haven’t seen someone in a while, I check in on them. Others have done the same for me.
- On a recent evening, business event ahead, one of my neighbors came to the rescue in helping me zip my dress. (Yes, really.)
How did you choose your ‘hood?