Alert
Close

Watch the NASCAR race on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Join the Drive to End Hunger!

Relationships
Poll

Most Popular
Articles

Viewed

Connecting to Neighbors

5 ways to get acquainted with the folks on your block

2. Plan monthly neighborhood events. Annual picnics and block parties are nice, but they generally don't provide traction for strong relationships to develop. The more frequent the event, the better you'll get to know people. In Columbus, Ohio, for example, residents of one neighborhood have taken turns hosting "Wednesdays on the Porch” for eight years. The porch is an especially nice place to gather because the hosts don't have to clean up the house! Also, try school-oriented celebrations, such as a back-to-school bike parade for kids, maybe with a town fire truck in the lead; Christmas caroling for the holidays; a progressive New Year's Eve celebration at five or six neighbors' homes (so no one has to drive after celebrating); and, when the weather warms up, a backyard barbecue where everyone pitches in.

3. Think beyond the backyard. Encourage residents to engage in some kind of front yard activity to get people out and visible to passers-by. Try to shift from typical backyard activities to the front yard: vegetable and flower gardens, a swing set or climbing toy, badminton set, even just place a couple of lawn chairs in front of the house.

4. Use online services. Websites such as i-Neighbors.org or Meettheneighbors.org allow neighbors to share news virtually. They can be helpful, but should complement — not replace — face-to-face interaction.

5. Consider shared property. In some neighborhoods, residents pool funds to create a communal gathering spot. You might consider converting an empty lot into a small park or playground — or even just removing a fence or two so you and your neighbors can create a joint vegetable garden. Trust me: I've learned from experience that these small gestures can reap large rewards.

Peter Lovenheim is the author of the book In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

300_line

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

1-800flowers.com (1-800flowers.com)

Members save 20% or $20 on purchases of $79.99  from
Fruitbouquets.com.

Collette Vacations

Members save up to $200 per couple on select tours with Collette Vacations.

Live Nation

Members save 25% or more when buying tickets in groups of four from Ticketmaster.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Being Social

Featured
Groups

The Coffee Shop

Relax, kick-back, meet new friends and visit with old ones. Discuss

Front Porch

"If the world had a front porch, we'd all be friends!" Let's all be friends! Drop by anytime... Discuss