The following is an excerpt of an article by Steve MacDouell found on strongtowns.org. To read the complete article, visit strongtowns.org/journal/how-to-become-more-attached-to-your-city.
It’s easy to live in our cities and feel little connection to them. While it takes time and intentionality to pivot toward the places that we live in, we can trust that, when we do, a meaningful connection will be cultivated — the kind of connection that compels us toward our neighbors, that exposes us to the good things that are going on all around us, and that moves us to think creatively about how we might leverage our passions, skills, and resources for the common good of our cities.
Here are a few ways to experience a deeper connection to your city.
1. Experience it holistically: The more present we are in our cities — experiencing them with all of our senses — the less likely we are to dream of being somewhere else. Action Item: Wander your city and be intentional about utilizing all of your senses (touch, sight, smell, hearing, and taste).
2. Walk instead of drive: If your city is anything like mine, it’s fixated on car-based transit. While opinions on car usage vary, there is one thing that is abundantly clear: driving in a car changes the way that we engage our surroundings. Action Item: Invest in a good pair of sneakers and hit the sidewalks.
3. Become a regular in a third place: In his important work, The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg defines “third places” as public places — outside of our workplaces and homes — where people can gather to enjoy conversation and the company of others. Practically speaking, third places are important because they provide a context where people can encounter their neighbors. Action Item: Pick a third place; commit to spending time in it on a weekly basis; and seek connection in and through it.
Visit the full article for two more tips on how to become more attached to your community, and let us know if you try out any of the action items.
This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s October 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.