Building local community seems to be on many people’s mind right now (mine included). And there are many Big Ideas in flight—from new towns (i.e. Culdesac, “Chautauqua of the West”), to dedicated third spaces (i.e. The Commons), to friend communes. These are exciting and wonderful.
And—being a part of these might not be possible for you right now. Maybe your kids are in school and moving isn’t an option. Maybe friend communes sound ideal, but are logistically or financially impossible right now. Maybe you don’t have a version of The Commons in your neighborhood.
This is a friendly reminder that the Small Ideas for local community building matter, too. If we cannot change geography—for whatever reason—our next best alternative is to build community with our existing neighbors. There are many, many things each of us can do to build this community this without changing geography, spending money, or even having a place to host people.
I’ve started collecting (and trying) some Small Ideas that I’ve seen in SF and thought I’d share in case you’re trying to do something similar where you live.
These examples are intended to get you thinking about what might work for you. Copy them verbatim, make some tweaks, or ignore them and do something different altogether. I’d love to grow this list over time, please send me things you’ve organized/attended/seen (email@example.com) and I’ll add them.
Noe Whatsapp group: Dan and Christina started a Noe Valley Whatsapp group that makes impromptu meetups easy (ie “Going on a walk on Sanchez at 4pm if anyone wants to join”). People organize casual hangouts and share local events.
Noe neighbors & bagels: I recently co-hosted a “Noe neighbors & bagels” breakfast with a Noe friend. The whole thing took 3 hours total (including prep/cleanup) and cost ~$50. We shared it with the Noe Valley Whatsapp Group and ~20 people came, half of whom I’d never met. Very easy and fun.