52 Weeks of Neighboring - 8/21

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Tip of the Week – Utilize public spaces: visit a park, walk or ride your bike on a trail, visit your public library or community center.

Public spaces are often overlooked. When we do notice them, we may be tempted to criticize.  Instead, utilize the public spaces in your neighborhood and city and see them as assets. Take a drive around your neighborhood. What spaces have you overlooked? A grocery store with a different ethnic culture, a community park or walking trail, a farmers market, a public library, your community center, or a new local restaurant? Make a list of these places and turn it in to a personal scavenger hunt. Find the hidden treasures in your community!

So how does this experiment fit into neighboring? We’re glad you asked!

  • Taking advantage of public spaces helps to connect us to our neighborhood. We smile at the the neighbors around us, we get to know the high school kids who work in the coffee shop, and we begin to gain a sense of belonging in our neighborhood.
  • Not only does this neighboring experiment foster a sense of neighborhood pride, but it fosters civic pride as well. While you may be visiting a public space in your neighborhood, most public projects are funded by the city and your tax dollars. Enjoying these projects is a great way to develop a sense of civic pride and appreciate the time and financial investment by your city.
  • Finally, choosing to utilize a public space takes discipline. Visiting may be out of your normal routine, prices on the menu may be a little higher than the chain down the street, or the art museum may be unfamiliar to you. With this neighboring experiment, we may have to say “no” to something more convenient in order to say “yes” to supporting our communities. We’ll say it again: people who love their neighborhood have made the decision (and effort) to love their neighborhood.

We love our neighborhood and we love the public spaces in it. In fact, we love them so much we wanted to share them with you. Here’s a look at some of our favorite “hidden gems” in our neighborhood and city.

If you feel up for it, share your favorite public spaces with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Happy neighboring!