Neighborhood packing, living near people you enjoy, could effectively remedy our long-standing twin crises – housing and isolation.
For many years I’ve advocated for harmonious home sharing as a solution to the housing crisis and to the isolation that plagues so many of us. Living near people you like is almost as good as living with people you like. For some it’s far better.
Neighborhood packing, living near people who like each other, can get us on track to create high-functioning communities that are friendly, safe, resilient and maybe even affordable.
Of course, cultivating relationships with existing neighbors is ideal but in our isolated, sometimes paranoid, culture, that’s not as easy as it sounds. Friendships take root with frequent, spontaneous interaction. Sharing common ground or values adds a satisfying, enriching spice.
How our housing choices make adult friendships more difficult explains that friendships are essential to happiness but adult responsibilities – children, aging parents, work, household chores – often crowd out the time that maintaining healthy friendships requires.
“Our ability to form and maintain friendships is shaped in crucial ways by the physical spaces in which we live.”
Having friends within walking distance lifts the spirit by counteracting the isolation that pervades our culture. Few opportunities for casual, spontaneous social interaction is an underlying cause of our malaise. Coffee shops are today’s equivalent of the diners of bygone years but often, except for people meeting for an appointment, they are as devoid of social interaction as a library.
When we don’t bump up against people, especially those outside our milieu, we often retreat into a bubble that insulates us from reality and from people who could temper and enrich our experience of the world.
One of the great pleasures of living in Chicago, particularly in Uptown, is living with the great diversity of humanity. My intention with Neighborhood Packing is celebrating our diversity and increasing our tolerance and acceptance of those from different socio-economic backgrounds.
Neighborhood packing is a new approach and I will incorporate it into the Self Maintained Profile for Home Sharing. In the meantime, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to invite me to talk about it with your group.
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