Even if you cant build a pocket neighborhood from scratch, architect Ross Chapin says you can still build a community in the neighborhood you have. Here are his suggestions:
Move your picnic table. Put it in the front yard, and see how eating supper there spurs interaction with neighbors.
Plant a front-yard vegetable garden. You might even invite your neighbors to share it.
Build a room-size front porch. A good porch is both private and public and helps bring life to a neighborhood.
Add layers of privacy. Creating personal spaces out front where youre comfortable spending time increases the chances of encountering your neighbors. An example is a flower bed with a low fence, perhaps with a shade tree to filter the view.
Take down your backyard fence. It allows you to create a shared space for play, gardening or socializing.
Put up a book-lending cupboard. Mount it on the sidewalk out front, and stock it with your old reads so neighbors can enjoy them.
Organize street parties. Taking over the street for a summer potluck draws neighbors together.
Build resilience together. Survey the neighborhood to determine assets, skills and needs that can be called upon in a crisis. Even though the goal is emergency preparedness, the effort will cultivate community.
Create an online network. Use it as a resource and communication tool for nearby neighbors. Free networking tools such as Nextdoor (https://nextdoor.com) make it easier.
Be a good neighbor. Watch out for one another and do little favors. That builds good will, which helps prevent little squabbles from escalating and makes neighborhoods places of support, security and friendship.