Saturday, March 21, 2009

How to Build Community... in L.A.

Last night while walking Alice and Pablo (Pablo is our Pug dog, Alice is our friend's dog we've been watching) to the Silverlake Wine store (the wine was for us, not the dogs) we passed this framed poster that a neighbor had hung on a tree. I snapped a photo with my camera phone because it speaks to what we've experienced while living here in L.A. and especially what resonates with us in our present circumstances.

L.A. is a city of neighborhoods and is widely stereotyped as being a "selfish" city. We're so spread out here, so (as the stereotype goes) disconnected. However, living in Silver Lake for the last five and a half years, we've felt anything but disconnected. We've always felt part of a community being here. Community has always been something that is important to me and it doesn't just happen. Which is why I like this poster and what it says. Building Community takes interaction and being proactive. The rewards of being part of community far outweigh the effort.

I have to say that having a dog helps. I don't know how much I would just go out for walks without Pablo. It is one of the ways we've connected with so many people- being outside, walking the dog. Talking to the neighbors. Getting to know each other. This is what makes the prospect of moving so much harder. Not only do we love our house, we love our community. But we know that no matter where we go we can always create a community through the simple ways mentioned on this folksy little poster.

These are some of the ways we Build Community in Silver Lake:

-Go for walks around the Silver Lake Reservoir
-Take Pablo to the dog park and interact with other dog owners
-Frequent local coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques
-Take walks around the neighborhood and stop to talk to the neighbors
-Attend the annual block party... yes, our street has a block party. Last year was the first but it was so successful it is to be an annual event
-Invite the neighbors over
-Go to wine tastings at the local wine store
-Frequent the local Farmer's Market
-Help a lost dog get back home- there's one dog in our neighborhood that tends to get out of her yard quite a bit. I've brought her home many times.
-Take care of a neighbor's dog (we haven't done this, but our next door neighbor has watched Pablo a few times)
-Band together to get the street fixed
-Bob dials 311 (the LAPD non-emergency line) at the sight of any suspicious activity

Our local wine store: Silverlake Wine
Favorite boutique in walking distance from our house: Clover
Favorite place for a beer in walking distance: The Red Lion Tavern
Favorite local taco truck: The Taco Zone on Alvarado just N. of Sunset
Bob's favorite burger in walking distance: Rick's Drive in and Out


greenest mermaid said...

yay! As a Los Angeleno, I'm very excited to hear that you've been able to build a community there!

I am re-posting this on my blog :)

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