Nothing brings people together more effectively than external threat. Sharing resources and community gardening strengthen community; teaching knitting is part of the Great Reskilling. They may yet save their suburbs from decline unlike much of Flint, Michigan and Youngstown, Ohio which are planning to bulldoze some neighborhoods and return them to forest.
In Recession, Some See Burst of 'Neighboring'
Tough Times May Be Helping Build Stronger Communities in D.C. Suburbs
By Annie Gowen
Published Washington Post
, Monday, May 4, 2009
When Kris Kumaroo founded a new neighborhood association in Silver Spring in October, he was driven by a desire to combat recession-era problems such as vacant homes and petty crime.
Seven months later, Glenmont has its crime watch, but also much more: As the neighbors got out of their homes and started talking to each other, the sense of connection grew. They learned one another's names and began to say hello at the nearby Giant. Somebody got Metro to trim the shrubbery around the Glenmont Station, which made it feel safer. They had a "visioning" session for their community and created a colorful Web site. At their first spring festival, April 25, 174 people showed up for face-painting and hot dogs.
The little Cape Cods and ranchers off Georgia Avenue have been there 55 years, but it took a global downturn to turn them into a real neighborhood.
Some sociologists and community organizers say they think there has been an uptick of "neighboring" in the recession, as residents who just waved hello before are instead reaching out, in person and through e-mail discussion groups. They're talking crime and the economy, helping others through job losses and organizing money-saving potlucks. In Montgomery County, for example, the number of new neighborhood groups has doubled, while in hard-hit Manassas, active groups jumped from five to 20 in the past two years.