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05/22/22 6:54Login ] [ Contact Forum Admin ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 1[2]34 ]
Subject: Community Living Room to help neighbours meet


Author:
chris thomas
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Date Posted: 01/27/07 3:31
Author Host/IP: 222-152-193-176.jetstream.xtra.co.nz/222.152.193.176

The Problem:
In many urban settings, condo and aparment building residents hardly know who their immediate neighbours are, much less who lives in their building.

The Social Invention:
Find a currently unoccupied or underused space in your immediate vicinity. With help from your neighbours, renovate it into a public living room with whatever you fancy. Use it as a gathering space for holidays, events, hobbies, politics or just chillin'.

Project Objectives:
To create a more integrated environment in the urban setting, leading to a healthier, more sociable urban culture.

Suggested Methods:
The only way to get this project off the ground is to actively engage others in your apartment building, condo, or other multi-unit housing system. Talking to them in person is usually best, but leaving flyers under doors which explain the project is another option.

Further thoughts:

-I'd like to stress the importance of this being a public space as well, and not wholly exclusive to your immediate local. By starting your own Living Room, and helping others to do the same, a whole network of support can be built.

-What sort of space you choose and its location are entirely dependant on your situation. For example, I live in a building with 12 2-bedroom units, there is a condo next door, some houses across the street and various other multi-unit places in the immediate vicinity. There are also a few shopfronts which seem to be good candidates. Alternatively, the entrance area in my building would be rather suitable as well.

-Your space may require some sort of public calendar as well. A chalk/whiteboard, book, or electronic scheduling system would be invaluable. If everyone can easily see what's coming up, they're more likely to go.

Resources Needed:
At first, just the time and willingness to see your project through, and perhaps a few dollars for copies. In the stages beyond planning, funds will need to be allocated to rent or buy a space, refurbish where necessary and supply desired furnishings and services. Further maintenance costs should not be neglected while finding a suitable location.

Possible funding issues:

- Most urban real estators would be loathe to give up revenue generating property.

- See if some of your immediate neighbours would commit to helping foot a monthly bill initially, and negotiate with real estators for lower fees based on its community impact.

- Alternatively, seek public funding through city council, neighbourhood works projects, or possibly the local parks department.

- Various hurdles may exist, but a small group of committed neighbours can accomplish a lot.

Proposed Timescale:
This project could probably be completed in as little as 2-3 months, but would probably become stale if not signifcantly developed after a year. It may take some time initially to talk to the people who live near you, and to find a space that is really suitable to your needs.

Development:
The author wishes to develop this idea further. If you would be interested in getting involved you can comment.

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