Communities come in all shapes and sizes. They defy cultural, racial, and socioeconomic barriers. They even encompass people of different generations, religions, and romantic affiliations. You can’t always choose your neighbors, but you can bridge the gap your differences create and find common ground. Sometimes, though, it takes a little creative thinking and elbow grease to make it happen. Planning events and activities, like the following, can help.

Create Community Gardens

Some cities have abandoned or public property that can be used for this purpose. Some homeowners in the community, though, might volunteer to allow some of their land to be used for this purpose. Community gardens allow everyone within the community to come together to plant food or flowers. It helps with adding a touch of beauty, teaches the cycle of life to children, and can help alleviate the burdens of food costs for families within the community that may be struggling financially.

Plan Neighborhood Events

You can have one event monthly, one event quarterly, or however often you’d like to plan them. Some great ideas include the following:

  • Plan a Neighborhood Idol Contest – let your neighbors show off their unique skills and talents. You may find some surprising talent hidden in your neighborhood and it’s a good night of great fun to be had by all.
  • Schedule a Neighborhood Street Fair, Flea Market, or Carnival – these events allow you to get to know your neighbors and may help you raise money for neighborhood projects like sprucing up a playground, adding street lights or planting trees and flowers for shade and curb appeal in the neighborhood – or even for helping elderly people in the community with groceries or transportation.
  • Host a Neighborhood Movie Night – it doesn’t cost much to rent a projector and popcorn maker. Allow everyone to bring their own sodas and show a new family friendly or blockbuster DVD on the side of a house (or rent a screen if the neighborhood budget allows). It’s a great way to have an evening of fun with others in the neighborhood. If you live in a multigenerational neighborhood, consider showing classic films that may offer appeal to older generations while appealing to younger generations as well.
  • Consider a Neighborhood Potluck – Invite everyone from the neighborhood to bring a dish and get to know each other. Provide plates, tables, chairs, etc. and invite others to bring dishes, drinks, and open minds to the event.

These are just a few ideas. The idea is always to make connections and, perhaps, bring a real sense of community pride and cooperation within the neighborhood. These ideas will help you get started and you can build on them as interest grows.