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What small changes would make it easier to HANG OUT and DO THINGS?
A few years ago, I was talking with someone about trying to figure out what community would look like in the early days of the vaccine. He told me that in his Canadian neighborhood, there’d been a specific effort to create public space where people could come and work, read, play games, whatever — and, importantly, not have to buy something. Truly public space! For things that aren’t, like, playing on a play structure! A revelation! But also, as anyone who’s run a library will tell you, not straightforward to cultivate or maintain.
That conversation has hung around in my head as I’ve thought through the various things that make the already difficult and time-consuming process of forming community even more difficult and time-consuming - to the point that most people just quietly give up. More specifically: Say you want to start a group that talks about something, works on something, plans something. Unless you’re affiliated with an organization with dedicated space, you have to find a space to meet. Is that space the library? Maybe, but there’s only so many reservable rooms, and many libraries have limited hours. Is it a Starbucks? But maybe that feels too public and who knows if there will be enough space? There are solutions to the problem of meeting space, but they are more difficult to come by than they should be. The ever-diminishing amount of public, indoor space is a community roadblock.
Today, I want to talk about your larger roadblocks. Is it space? Commute related? The structure of your work or your kids’ school day or school year? Maybe the groups you’ve considered joining all have a religious affiliation. Maybe you just don’t know how to coordinate a group - or how to reach people who’d be interested. Maybe it has something to do with technology, or accessibility, or language.
Spend some time thinking about your roadblock. What small or large things make it hard for you to hang out with others in your community - and to just DO THINGS?? Tell us about it.
And then I invite you to spend some time thinking about how that roadblock could be lifted. [Be as specific and elaborate as you can - not just “invest in public transit,” for example…but *what kind* of public transit, with what sort of reach and hours? Tell us about that, too - especially if you’ve managed to figure out a way to make it happen.
Roadblocks are real. But they don’t have to be permanent.
I’m opening up this discussion to the entire subscriber list in the hopes of having an even broader discussion. Please abide by our general commenting standards (be thoughtful, empathetic, and recognize that people in the comments are real people). Refusal to abide by those standards will lead to an automatic ban. Don’t be butts about community roadblocks and let’s keep this one of the good places on the internet.