Cultivating a sense of community is one of the things that can take your neighborhood to the next level. It makes residents feel like they belong. It makes them feel welcome and safe. Overall, it makes your neighborhood a more enjoyable place to live and who doesn’t want that? Although Los Angeles is a big city, there are little things you can do to create that small town community feel in your own neighborhood.
During this time when everyone is a lot more isolated than under “normal” circumstances, it’s easy to lose that sense of connection to your community. Maybe it’s not recommended to have large indoor gatherings with your neighbors, but even something as simple as a smile and wave can go a long way.
Luckily, all of these tips can be followed as is or easily adapted to follow health guidelines. Here are nine simple ways you can get started.
Welcome new families
One of the easiest things you can do to make your neighborhood feel cozier is simply welcoming new families when they move in. Once they’ve settled in, bring over a home cooked dish or a gift basket and introduce yourself and your family to them. Make them feel like they’re part of the community. This small gesture can go a long way.
Shop local businesses
Shopping at local businesses is a great way to connect with other people in your community. There is something very special about walking into a store or an eatery where you know the owners by name. Plus, you’ll quickly become a pro at recommending all the best local spots to neighbors and visitors alike.
Spend some time outside
Cultivating a community feel doesn’t have to be super complicated or require a lot of effort. Spending some time outside on your porch or yard or going out for a walk around the block at sundown is an easy way to casually run into your neighbors and strike up a conversation.
Beautify your neighborhood
Creating community is not just about connecting with others that live near you. It’s also about showing your neighborhood some love. You can do this by participating in a neighborhood clean up or improvement project. This is a fun and active way to spend a weekend off, meet new people, and help your neighborhood looks its best.
Volunteer for an organization in the neighborhood
Nothing will make you feel more like you’re part of something bigger than giving back to the community. Find a local organization that you feel passionate about and donate your time. Some of our favorites include the Boys & Girls Club of Venice, Much Love Animal Rescue, LAPD Homeless Task Force, and the Ocean Park Community Center.
Host a block party
Hosting a block party is a really fun way to bring everyone together. It doesn’t have to be a huge spectacle like you see in the movies. Keeping it simple works just as well. Food, games for the kids to play, and maybe some music is all you really need for a good time.
Create a little free library
If you love reading and want to connect with other fellow book lovers in your hood, consider building a little free library, which is a small wooden box where people can share a book they’ve already read and grab a pre-loved book to dig into. It’s a unique way for adults and kids to discover new books and to recycle old books.
Start a community garden
If you stumble upon a nook in your neighborhood with lots of potential, consider turning it into a community garden. Not only is it a great way to spend time outside getting some fresh air, you’ll also get to interact with the people in your community and enjoy fresh, seasonal produce. This might be a bigger project that will require more effort but the benefits will be so worth it.
Perform little acts of kindness
In life, whatever energy you put out, you get right back. Apply this rule to the way you treat your neighbors and it’ll instantly create a feeling of love and communion. Set the intention to do small acts of kindness for your neighbors and treat them the way you’d like to be treated. Some examples include cleaning up their part of the sidewalk if you see some trash, picking up dog poop, or giving them a thoughtful holiday gift.