We all know the “location, location, location” adage. Its part of what buying real estate is all about. But, what actually makes a location great?
According to Jay Walljasper, author of The Great Neighborhood Book, a great neighbourhood is about community. It’s about knowing your neighbours, feeling safe, and having pleasant spaces to be together.
Walljasper’s book offers lots of ideas for making your neighbourhood a better place to live and for building a stronger community:
- Know thy neighbours: Sit on your front steps and say hello as people walk by. Have a chat with the person who pumps your gas or the retired lady down the street. You’d be amazed at how people open up to a little friendliness.
- Create a great gathering spot: A nice playground with benches and shaded areas is a natural place for residents to gather. Communities across Canada have worked together to raise money via personal and corporate donations to build spaces kids and adults love.
- Make it an event: Whether it’s a neighbourhood barbecue, a Saturday street sale, or an organized trick-or-treating event for the kids, getting your neighbours together to do something fun builds friendship and community.
- Walk more, drive less: Get out and enjoy the neighbourhood instead of sealing yourself off in a car. Encourage walking by lobbying the city to widen sidewalks, add crosswalks, and traffic calming zones.
- Be neighbourly: Shovel your neighbour’s walk when they are out of town, offer an afternoon of babysitting to the single parent down the street, or welcome a new neighbour with an invitation to coffee.
- Take back the streets: If you live in an area where crime is a problem, organize a neighbourhood watch and walk around. If you see anything suspicious, notify the police. Criminals are deterred when there are too many people around.
- Shop local: Supporting your local merchants will ensure they succeed along with the distinctive flavour they add to your neighbourhood. If you don’t have shops in your area, it may be due to zoning restrictions. Lobby your city council to change zoning so that retailers can set up shop.
- Take pride: Take care of your neighbourhood the way you take care of your own property. When you go for a walk, bring a bag to pick up litter. Plant flowers in public places. Spruce up the park swings with some fresh paint.
- Take advantage: Enjoy what your neighbourhood has to offer. Hang out at the coffee shop, go for a walk or bike ride, relax in the park. A great neighbourhood is only great if you take time to enjoy it.
It takes work to make things better, but everything you do will pay off through your enjoyment of your community – and increased property values. For more ideas, consult The Great Neighborhood Book. It’s an excellent resource that could spark some greatness is your neighbourhood.