How to Create a Village in an Urban Space

Scenes from a public corner that also includes colorful chairs for passersby to commune.

  1. Create or designate a “town square” for your neighborhood where folks naturally want to gather — a park, playground, vacant lot, community center, coffee shop, or street corner.
  2. Lobby for more public benches, water fountains, plazas, parks, sidewalks, bike trails, playgrounds, and other crucial common infrastructure.
  3. Notice how many of life’s pleasures exist outside the marketplace — gardening, fishing, conversing, playing music, playing ball, making love, or enjoying nature.
  4. Form a neighborhood exchange to share everything from lawnmowers to child care to vehicles.
  5. Pull together a potluck. Throw a block party. Form a community choir, slow food club, Friday night poker game, seasonal festival, or any other excuse for socializing.
  6. Walk, bike, or take transit. It also is good for the environment. People make very few friends behind the wheel of a car.
  7. Remember streets belong to everyone, not just automobiles. Drive cautiously and push for traffic calming and other improvements that remind motorists they are not kings of the road.
  8. Buy from local, independent businesses whenever possible.