Local spirit has been in decline for the last couple of weeks/months. But now, it’s back, more eager and stronger than ever. Use this social enthusiasm and try our tips to maximise your local community engagement.
Yes, we know, the quarantine hit hard, and your relationships have got hit even harder. Your social interaction got stripped into occasional grocery shopping and the peak was distance-calls with your family and online sessions with your friends.
Whether you used this time for self-development, relaxation or were in the constant swirl of your kids’ world and are now thinking about a vacation, we have good news: “It’s over! The external reality kicked out the door and drew us back in.”
But what has never been over is your community. It just has been waiting patiently in limbo, to get some tenacious attention to prosper. What makes a local community?
It’s your neighbours from the block, the old lady trimming her flower bed, a mother who has always an extra cookie for a neighbourhood friend, the bakery handing out free coffee to the locals after 4 pm, that owner of a dog with dark patch on his paw running in the park every morning, or the couple parking the car before work every day in the front of your block.
All of them are people co-creating your everyday local experience with odds and ends such as small talk, smiles, greetings, occasional help with bags or even working on little improvements around the block.
Now, we’ve hung ourselves on the idea to make it even better. Together with the neighbours from New Nivy in Bratislava, Slovakia, we’ve collected ideas on how to make life in your community at DSTRCT.Berlin even more inclusive and pleasant. Check out OUR BOOKLET for a complete list of specific community activism ideas to try, or go on and read below our picks.
1. Treat communal spaces as your own
Don’t regard public and communal spaces as if they don’t belong to you or anyone else. Take care of them as if it were a piece of yours. Do you see a blinking bulb in the corridor? Don’t wait, change it on your own!
2. Be a community helper
Many simple activities can be physically demanding for seniors – let your children help with grocery shopping or walking a dog. Children build a sense of responsibility and seniors get freed from heavy tasks.
The solution also works vice versa. Did you notice that single parent living with the daughter on the 3rd floor? Or that couple with 2 kids constantly running around? Make friends, or let your kids become friends which can end up in taking turns looking after them. Who wouldn’t appreciate a few moments a week for yourself?
3. Share your crops from the garden
Tending that garden of yours into abundance? Bring some health into your community and share some fruits and vegetables with your neighbours, who might not be so lucky.
4. Organise large clean-ups and exchanges
We all wish to live in a green world. It’s easier than you might think. Mobilise locals to clean up public and communal areas four times a year. The time spent outside will also benefit your health. Take on the opportunity of meeting them and set up occasional exchange markets to find a second purpose for no longer wanted items too.
5. Share parking spaces
There are many scenarios for how to use your spot to the fullest, here are two of them:
- Leaving town for a day or two by car? Let your neighbours use your spot while you’re gone.
- Commuting to work by car every morning and returning in the evening? Let people working in the area use your parking space while you are gone.
6. Shop locally at small businesses
Buying domestic food doesn’t need to be at supermarkets. Get to know your local area and stop by the farmers’ market or at the little stores dotted along the street; that little café on the corner, the local butcher with a special offer every Tuesday or the florist who did such an awesome job with the bouquet for your mum? Yup, that’s them, waiting for you to reconnect.
7. Become an Ecommunity
Many households produce a significant amount of organic trash every day. Wouldn’t it be nice to return it to nature? Ask your local municipality to assist you with receiving a composter and become an ecommunity.
8. Set up a “library of things”
A library of things is a dedicated place in your house where everyone can contribute & borrow a variety of useful items that are not necessary to own, yet needed from time to time: a hammer, a tent or even a bread maker.
Many neighbours either work near each other or even for the same company, but they all drive separately. Let’s commute to work together. It’s ecological and cost-savvy too, all it needs is a little compromise.
10. Be human – a warm-hearted one
Last, but definitely not least: How lovely it would be to live with your friends? Very lovely indeed!
What if we tell you this aim is attainable from a different perspective. Make friends with people who already live near you. It doesn’t take much effort to be pleasant. Smile, greet, and, most of all, respect each other. Because all that matters is that you all feel WELL.
Would you like to get more?
To get a lapful of our practical tips for active community, social and environmental responsibility download OUR BOOKLET, that will give you many ideas that can do their part in reconnecting with the people around you.
Why do we care?
When we design building concepts, we always think about the impact or use of the project’s various components. The original concept of sustainable commercial buildings has been expanded to include an active approach to making new or revitalised neighbourhoods where people live and work better, somewhere they are pleased to call home.
Everyone — locals, “out-of-towners”, commuters and residents — can be brought together effectively, especially through high-quality public spaces, businesses and services that benefit everyone so that they spend time there and naturally create a community.
The BREEAM Communities certification that we aspire for with our projects also tackles matters that might seem trivial but are ultimately vital for economically sustainable community life around our projects.