The Benefits of the Abundant Community Initiative for North Glenora include:
In a world of finely grained separation, the neighbourhood provides a unique place in which people of different orientations, experiences and views can connect at a human level.
Health & Wellness
Local small groups are proven as the most effective means of supporting people to change behaviour (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous). Further, studies show that people with the fewest social ties have the highest risk of dying from heart disease, circulatory problems, and cancer.
Having access to consistent opportunities to build meaningful relationships opens the door for a troubled neighbour to connect with a supportive neighbour and benefit from human to human connection.
The deep formation of the heart and life are connected to “the land” and the people who inhabit it. Living life together in a place can be one of the most important dimensions of our lives. Our yards, blocks, parks, streets and sidewalks are sacred.
Neighbourhoods are “the villages” that can reasonably and responsibly take on care beyond the family, looking out for children, seniors, marginalized, especially the most vulnerable.
Belonging, engagement and connection are essential to human thriving. Friends and families are not always, or sometimes not ever, available. Neighbours can be company and companionship nearby.
Mental and physical fitness are enhanced by local, easily accessible and often impromptu opportunities for play and social connection in leisure time.
Connected “blocks” (e.g. block, cul-de- sac, apartment or condo building or floor) naturally look in on seniors and keep caregivers informed.
Supportive mentoring relationships can naturally occur in the neighbourhood when neighbours of all ages get to know one another. Neighbours can feel empowered to intervene when children misbehave – sharing care of the young and creating ‘the village’ to raise our children.
Neighbours in relationship with each other will be better able to solve challenges and disagreements that come up between them, as well as encourage each other to meet high standards to invoke pride in the place they live (e.g. anticipated decrease in calls to Bylaw / 311 complaints).
Crime and Safety
A safe street is produced by ‘eyes on the street’. Neighbours can be given permission, or organize to look out for the safety of one another. Safety comes from people walking around, sitting outside, knowing neighbours, and being part of a social fabric.
Neighbours helping neighbours is an important disaster preparedness strategy for municipalities. that has had proven success in recent situations like the Fort McMurray fire.
People in poverty need complex services, many of which can be provided through kindness and generosity from neighbours as well as agencies. When people know their neighbours, they are more likely to share resources (yard equipment; car shares; babysitting; employment advice). In addition, neighbours are well positioned to be a “broker” to connect neighbours in need to necessary services.
Localism is the cornerstone of the environmental movement as we move towards energy, food and water security within a changing climate. From community gardens to car and tool sharing, a strong neighbourhood has lots of potential for actualizing a sustainable future.
Generally, people stay in a neighbourhood when they are connected to their neighbours and their neighbourhood as a whole.
Business and Social Innovation
Neighbourhoods are one of the important environments for people of diverse ideas and imaginations to find one another in creative connection. Neighbours are able to drive local economies when shared demands are articulated (e.g. creation of a local coffee shop/bakery/daycare).
Neighbourhood Engagement and readiness to participate in Public Engagement
A network of block-to- block point people is the most granular level of consultation to which any municipality and its citizens could reasonably aspire.
Credit: Laurier Heights Community League, http://www.lhcl.ca/ace