This is about the 3 giant boards I have hanging in my garage/clubhouse/clearing house. If service, need, and the creative impulse are the kinetic energies moving the Neighbors On Purpose project, these boards are akin to the delicate spaces between our synapses, holding rich juices, making coordinated movement possible.
Each board has a name/question and a purpose. My they nourish the gratitude, communication, and reciprocity that make our little piece of Big City into the cozy neighborhood it is.
The boards are nicknamed ’Common Pleasure’, ‘Hidden Treasure’, and ‘A Wish for Good Measure’. Why?
What I do is I ask neighbors to put a word/phrase here describing something that they love about living here, something that they believe is shared, and perhaps a bit obvious. A tree, a view, a feeling, a smell, a quirk or fact about the neighborhood. Some history. I also ask them to put their name on the back. I encourage adding their name to any other notes they agree with, so now lists of neighbors’ names are quietly accumulating on the hidden side of each note. Then, on the
board, I ask my neighbors to share an unseen, unknown, or peraps invisible resource — for instance, themselves. Say a neighbor makes jewelery as a hobby, and they’d love to be known amongst neighbors for gifting, selling, or trading their jewelery. This person might pin a note called “Jewelery” on the board, with his own name on the back of that card. Neighbors who are interested in acquiring, trading, looking at, or discussing jewelery will be able to find the right neighbors to talk to thanks to this note. This neighbor may become a ‘famous neighbor’; a local expert; a go-to address for last-minute gifts! Neighbors who share the talent of making jewelery may add their names to the list on the back, and who knows: a one-time or monthly interest group may arise. I can see neighbors making jewelery together, perhaps loaning each other the tools of the trade and collaborating on finding good places to sell their stuff, etc. On the 3rd board,
A Wish for Good Measure,
neighbors share what they would like to find in the neighborhood, that they currently don’t know of; resources they’re looking for. (For instance, a masseuse, computer help, a fellow jogger, a family interested in co-parenting, etc.) If the wish can be fulfilled, the neighbors with names on the back of that note are contacted. If it’s an issue that needs a working group, an initiative might emerge when there is critical mass for a meeting, as shown by the list of names on the back. Facilitating meetings happens to be one of my skills, and participatory democracy one of my ideals. And I know of impartial 3rd party facilitators, too!
These tools are interactive and dynamic self-governance tools. Every time a neighbor visits, everything is changed by their input. Welcome to the ‘common sense’: Neighbors On Purpose.