|Historical (Tokugawa) Japanese neighborhood|
He continues, "The opportunity is there if we recognize that during recent generations, institutions have often taken over functions once performed by local communities, neighbors, and their collective groups and associations. Medicine has claimed our health. Police have claimed our safety. Schools have claimed the raising of our children. Social services have claimed the provision of care. And corporations have claimed that everything we need can be bought."
|My (sprawling) neighborhood|
Returning the McKnight's article, here are the "Seven functions that only effectively organized neighborhoods can provide":
- Health. "Our neighborhoods are the primary source of our health." It is well known that longevity and many ailments are improved by strong social support networks, and neighborhoods can and should provide those networks.
Neighborhood in Bungamati, Nepal
- Safety. Safety is a local issue, and two of its major determinants are the number of neighbors one knows by name and the extent to which people are present and interacting in the public space near home. McKnight is drawing on both Jane Jacobs (her stress on "eyes on the street") and Robert Sampson (whose relevant concept is "collective efficacy"), two of the top experts on urban neighborhoods. See Jacobs (1961) and Sampson (2012).
- Environment and resources. Vibrant neighborhoods contribute to resource conservation in many ways.
- A resilient economy. Most businesses begin locally, and neighbors are the most reliable source of jobs and information about jobs. Local economic activity contributes to successful neighborhoods, and active neighborhoods stimulate local economies.
- Local food. The local food movement is just one manifestation of the positive association between neighborhoods and the production and distribution of food.
- Socialization and raising children. McKnight invokes the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child" and encourages the involvement of neighbors in the collective raising and training of children.
- Care-giving. "Our institutions can offer only service, not care. We cannot purchase care." True care is what neighbors and community members provide for one another, not what paid professional dispense from distant locations.
|Modern and premodern neighborhoods|
Jacobs, Jane (1961) The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Random House, New York.
McKnight, John (2013) Neighborhood Necessities: Seven Functions that Only Effectively Organized Neighborhoods Can Provide. National Civic Review 102(3):22-24.
McKnight, John and Peter Block (2010) The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods. Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco.
Sampson, Robert J. (2012) Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
|One idea to improve neighborhoods|