In my London neighborhood, I frequently stopped by friends’ houses if I was walking past, and ended up, quite often, staying for a cup of tea or a drink. It didn’t surprise me if someone stopped by, either. It was neighborly, and relaxed. But we’re now living in a way that assumes no one will casually visit, so of course no one does.I think it was Christopher Alexander and his colleagues, who wrote the amazing A Pattern Language, who explained the importance of casual, unplanned meetings in creating a sense of community. This is why, they said, people have such fond memories of their days at university or in the army. We have that kind of interaction still, here in Great Barrington, on Main Street on weekdays (not on weekends–there are too many tourists and local people stay away). in our neighborhood, when the weather’s good, we wave and sometimes stop to talk when people are outside. But I wouldn’t dream of simply dropping in, and I’d be surprised if a neighbor turned up unannounced on my doorstep.
Dropping by and stopping over
July 3rd, 2006|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: sense of community|
About the Author: Karen Christensen
Karen Christensen is an entrepreneur, environmentalist, and scholar who writes about the many ways women have gained and wielded power. She is the owner and CEO of Berkshire Publishing Group, a former trustee of the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Press, a member of the National Committee on US-China Relations, and the founder of the Train Campaign. Subscribe to Karen’s Letter @Substack https://karenchristensen.substack.com or try her Home Ecology newsletter. She can also be found on Twitter @karenchristenze.
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