Below, I describe my hobby/passion/project.
If you live within earshot of my place, this is your extra-warm welcome and a personal request to connect
If you feel like a neighbor, but you have to really holler, or use a phone to reach me in my little world-within-our-world, we might still have reason to connect. Perhaps you’d like to collaborate, get support, or hire my consulting, speaking, or life-balance-coaching services. You can, of course, read about those Services on this site. But please – get cozy with some tea & relax – make yourself at home and steep in my idea… for the sheer pleasure of it!
We surmise the points below by drawing on studies in adult learning, non-violent communication, holistic education, cutting-edge psychology, permaculture, the transition movement, community-building, movement-making, Sociocracy, holistic marketing, social media, & social sciences.
Resilient neighborhoods have a culture that is
- confident that change can honor everyone.
These traits are present in individual neighbors who
- enjoy regular check-ins,
- make plans based in inherent personal motivation/passion,
- have support in following through on plans,
- have a peer who listens without agenda (other than fostering personal motivation).
Using specific-yet-open-ended questions, we can proactively help neighbors define a personally desirable & fitting cultural identity within the micro-neighborhood. This way, although personal change friendships are subject to cultural stigma on ‘helping/being helped,’ such stigmas can be precluded. Some neighbors might say a desirable cultural identity – for them – includes regular conversations with the ‘hub,’ while others feel totally free to state that unscheduled ones work best for them, or that it’s undesirable.
For many, the traits of resilient neighborhood will become possible to foster, if a ‘hub’ is permitted such a relationship. Of course, the hub must sustain the relationship and show up consistently, in order to not jeopardize the relationship and the bigger picture. Or connect neighbors with fitting mentors amongst the group.
To become trusted enough to ask these questions in the first place, skill, emotional hygiene, and patience are needed. It is pivotal that the ‘hub’ be a neighbor among neighbors. Did you know:
- Trusted relationships are born from 7 agenda-free, empathic exposures within a short timeframe.
- 80% of systemic change is the result of only 20% of us making a lasting change.
- Not everyone is in the market for a life coach, but more than enough of us will make time for agenda-free empathy.
- Agenda-free empathy is a powerful leveraging point for personal, cultural, and systems change.
If people talented at offering agenda-free empathy are to offer it to their neighbors, they may need support in becoming local empathy ‘hubs’. We suppose that ‘hubs’ will thrive when consciously networked in dynamic, interdependent ways.
- The average human neocortex can track the wellbeing and whereabouts of 300 people.
- I wake up within 1 block of 300 people every day.
- Being asked for input, help, etc. in person from a neighbor is at the core of community ownership.
For more on inclusion/exclusion,
and why I don’t just do something ‘simple’ like a local currency, click here.
My personal change trajectory involves loving my nearest neighbors as they choose to be loved. No exceptions.”
self-proclaimed village nut,
award-winning social entrepreneur & filmmaker.
and I’ve been wondering:
What would Seattle be like if, for every 3×3=9 blocks,
there was 1 neighbor committed to knowing everyone in that burrow?
What would it be like to live among
neighbors who committed to be good neighbors on purpose?
What if we had all decided to seek out & befriend at least a few households nearby? What if we’d each decided – independently – what our uniqe-sized sense of ‘home’ is; we go beyond ‘next door,’ actively getting familiar with 2, 20, or 200 neighbors, only to find that they were also looking to meet us?
I wonder whether a wide-spread desire for neighborhood on a scale we find both pragmatic & personally rewarding would result in each person having conscious community ranging between 2 and 200 households, where, on average, Seattleites know 5 neighborhood households based on vicinity alone, and 15 based on shared interests … Where, indirectly, all of Seattle knows each other.
- how people who connect many small clusters of neighbors, ‘hubs,’ help their neighbors meet shared/complimentary needs as they become part of our shared awareness?
- how these ‘hubs’ can support one another through peer-to-peer education and resource-sharing, and diminish uncomfortable neighborly relationships by several factors?
- what 30-household ‘parliaments’ coming together to find meaning, rather than righteousness, can do with clear, loving guidelines, and experienced facilitators from sister-neighborhoods?
- what the effect could be of the concrete, experiential awareness that every 3×3=9 blocks contains a human community of over a hundred people, other animals, and other nature?
How might it affect our jogging, our dog-walking, our local businesses, our conversations,
our volunteerism, our attitudes, our identities and self-worth, our sense of uniqueness and belonging, our sense of scale and responsibility, our children’s range of motion, our life-long learning, our wellbeing, our application of technology, our relationships to mass culture, our satisfaction/sense of ‘enoughness’, our commitments/pace of life, our exposure to skilled communicators and other mentors, our sense of wealth …and our love of humanity, other animals, and Nature in general?
Project Method & Structure
micro-to-macro, step by step
a Casually bump into neighbors within my 3×3 block neighborhood 7 times within a short time-frame. aBe invited/invite them over to tea. Perhaps inventory how long they plan to live here.
a On second/third tea, conduct interviews that, like all good questions, lead to deeper questions, including specifying which feelings and needs are involved, yield healing/intimacy/curiosity in return, and – in doing so – prime our micro-local consciousness/identity:
- In a perfect world, in which everyone’s needs are met, and we all know how to keep them that way, what do we, your neighbors, offer you?
- In a perfect world, (…,) what do we, your neighbors, seek you out and thank you for / learn from you?
- In a perfect world, (…,) what do neighbors do together that you could not do on your own?
- In a perfect world, (…,) what does your neighborhood culture feel like for you?
a Listen with the gut, heart, and mind, and make notes of interviewee’s responses.
a Share my own responses in turn, enjoying equality and transparency.
a Reflect back meticulous notes of every level of response, which tend to be as follows: ideal, current reality, reasoning why we can’t have what we want.
a Find deeper truths and commit to helping one another meet the deep, human needs at all 3 levels.
a Aggregate, correlate, and connect data from interviews, and hand-pick peer groups of 2 or more neighbors with shared/complimentary desires, feelings, and requests.
a Inventory availability and prepare each for introductions that lead to the following interactions among the interviewed neighbors: friendships, facilitated groups,self-sufficient groups, interest-based groups, and neighbor-coaching relationships.
a Scheduling, inviting, hosting, facilitating, and/or maintaining momentum as the groups form.
a Mentoring young leaders in close collaboration with their families.
- Starting every gathering with “gathering time” & framing time to practice interviewing one another 1:1.
- Ending every gathering with time to share experiences, make requests, and interact with the community bulletin boards to connect with those not physically present.
- Maintaining and managing volunteers to host the neighborhood Clubhouse, the bulletin boards, the interactive maps, calendars, and other tools.
- Weaving awareness raised through these tools, the interviews, and via electronic means into a frequent newsletter for neighbors.
a Delivering newsletter content in whatever form each subscribed neighbor prefers & will actually read.
- Reporting to the world at large, via a regular digest free of identifying information (preserving privacy).
a Learning with peers (from success stories, other experiences, and case studies) to form best practices, push for our own development, and discover our personal preferences/styles.
- Marketing the movement by celebrating at the drop of a hat: tweeting, potlucks, FaceBook remarks, tea, blog posts, parties… All are opportunities to celebrate human kindness and the scale of 3×3=9 blocks with people we love: people within, and outside of, our rich, vast, awesome little neighborhoods.
For my former thinking on how to finance this endeavor through grants,