Why neighbourhoods need open space

I do bootcamp and every summer I sweat out some squats in a local park. When I walk home after class, I pass two retired men who are just chilling on a bench, people-watching. They’re there every night, sitting on that bench, usually drinking Tim Hortons or David’s Tea and talking. If it’s warm enough in winter, they’re back on that bench. I love that idea because we don’t sit around enough in our neighbourhoods. I bet they could tell you exactly what is going on on the main street with everyone who works and lives on that street.

It’s better than a security system or at least that’s why my father tells me. My parents live in a neighbourhood where people sit on their porches and are outside, enjoying their surroundings. They have a neighbour who keeps an eye on their street because she knows her neighbours and is invested in their community.

Most neighbourhoods offer something – whether it’s a little parkette to people-watch, a great waterfront or even a patio. Ok, you’ll have to buy a drink or two to hang out on the patio but just hanging out in your neighbourhood, you can learn so much about where you live.

This becomes even more important when you live in a condominium. There is the impression that people live in boxes in the sky and refuse, or find it difficult, to interact with their neighbours and their community. A neighbourhood needs something to bring people outside and become involved.

To encourage lingering (and security, bear with me), a neighbourhood need a parkette, it also needs a good patio, a library and a coffee shop.  Canadians love to be outside, especially when it’s hot. That patio will be packed during the summer months. The parkette might become the place to toboggan during winter.

People will hang out, learn their neighbourhood and become active participants in their home.

As for those gentlemen? I hope to see them again this summer for the third year. We’ve become nodding acquaintances and they’re a fixture in my post-workout walk home.

Part of a sponsored project with Harmony Village

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