“ I went from loving the neighborhood to loving the people in the neighborhood.” -Unknown victim who lost her home in the Cedar fire
If we asked ourselves why we live Downtown, we’d no doubt come up with a myriad of reasons. It’s an exciting and desirable place to live; our neighborhoods are within walking distance to a plethora of restaurants and sights, long promenades along the water’s edge, world-class theater, the arts.
Despite all these enticing amenities, I think the secret desire luring people Downtown is the hidden but strongly pulsing need to recreate the community feel that has been missing for decades.
Maybe we romanticize Mayberry RFD when life appeared simple, maybe we’re tired of the isolation and security our locked homes and cars provide, or maybe we feel deprived of quality time with family and friends. Whatever the reason, we want to reconnect socially with people.
Living in a strong community enriches our lives with so many benefits: good neighbors, vibrant neighborhoods, reduced crime, economic development and growth, accountable public decision makers; we live longer, healthier and happier lives.
What can we do to build our community into something strong and unique, something we’re proud of as our very own? How can we develop ways to care for each other as neighbors in the 21st century? Can we unite our efforts to solve common problems that threaten community?
I muse…Can love bring us together?
It all starts in our immediate environment. Break the awkward silence in the elevator by introducing yourself, open the door for someone carrying a load, offer to help, say hi to neighbors on the street.
Our condo associations are a perfect place to build community. Attend your homeowners’ association meetings; better yet, serve on the board or a committee. Barb Darby, Lori Lesnick, Michael Blakely serve on the social committee at Treo@Kettner. They are organizing the condo’s holiday party to benefit St. Vincent de Paul’s children.
Be informed by reading your homeowners’ association newsletter and website.
Forward Viva-city’s monthly newsletter to a neighbor or co-worker.
Attend, join, and be involved in community meetings. Jen Shuttleton (Porta Siena) attends the Little Italy Association. Sal Giametta (Columbia Place) chairs the Downtown Residents Committee. Ellen Hoffman (Horizons) was recently elected to serve on the CCAC.
Start a monthly tea group, hold a neighborhood barbeque, start a group to meet for coffee. Yadida Colbert and Bill Poirier (Treo@Kettner) meet neighbors and colleagues for coffee each Tuesday .
Start a community group. Amy Pasko (Waterfront) is forming a parent group to share ideas and activities in raising children Downtown. New mothers Therese Havluciyan and April Coa (Treo@Kettner) and Tiffany Hancock (Archstone) are delighted!
Support businesses committed to building the community. San Diego National Bank generously gives to the community to support arts, events and recently to those who lost their homes. Whole Foods Market Hillcrest recently donated $20,000 to the San Diego Food Bank.
Let’s not wait for a tragedy to bring out
the best in us. Become a true neighbor to your neighbors. - December 3, 2003