Teresa Douglas is a moderator of the Facebook group for the Acadia Park neighbourhood at the University of British Columbia, and was instrumental in establishing the group. I asked her to share her thoughts about how to start and maintain an online neighbourhood discussion group.
I asked Derek Doherty about his experience organizing community projects for his neighbourhood, Acadia Park, the student family housing area at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He offered the following suggestions. I thought they were very useful.
I asked Derek Doherty about his experience of starting a neighbourhood association. Derek lives in Acadia Park, the student family housing section of the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus. He was one of the founding members of the Acadia Park Residents’ Association. Here’s what he had to say.
In past posts, we’ve considered such topics as ‘What is community?’, ‘What is sense of community?’, ‘What is the value of sense of community?’, ‘How can we measure sense of community?’, and ‘What factors influence sense of community?’ What we have not yet discussed is ‘Who should build sense of community?’ We may want to have a stronger sense of community in our group or neighbourhood, but who is responsible for actually making this happen? Whose job is it to build sense of community?
Several studies have discussed the mental, emotional, and societal benefits of having a strong sense of community. But, what can we do to strengthen sense of community? Is just something you either naturally have or don’t have? Is it a product of our past experience? Is it influenced by where and how we live? Can the design of a neighbourhood influence the sense of community of its residents? We could sum up all of these questions by asking, “What factors influence people’s sense of community?” Several researchers have tried to find out. Here are some of the relationships they’ve found—some positive, some negative, some a bit of both.
How strong is your sense of community? You might say, “Oh, pretty strong, I guess,” or, “Not very.” But, could you be more specific? It would be hard, wouldn’t it?
It would be even harder to tell if people in one town or one neighbourhood have a stronger sense of community than those in another. Before we can even think about why people in one community are more attached to it than those in another, we need some way to measure this attachment, this sense of community. So, is there a way to measure it?
Most people seem to agree that community is a good thing—something to ‘build,’ ‘strengthen,’ or ‘support.’ But, what is it exactly? Is it just a group of people? Do they have to have some common interest? Do they have to live near each other? When is a group of people not a community? Is community the same as society?
Do you feel a strong sense of community in your neighbourhood?
Do you enjoy chatting with your neighbours?
Do you like your neighbourhood and hope to live there a long time?
A lot of people talk about sense of community. When you hear the phrase, you probably get an idea of what it might be. But, if you had to define it, what would you say? What is sense of community? And, what good is it? Continue reading “What is sense of community and why does it matter?”
Urban density–do you love it or hate it? Not many people seem to be in between. Many city planners promote high urban density because they think it is better for the environment and makes transit easier. Many developers like it because they can make higher profits by putting more units on a lot. Many residents like it because they can live so close to their jobs and to amenities like great restaurants and stores. Continue reading “Who’s afraid of a little density?”