I have vivid memories from when I was a kid of how excited my friends and I would get in anticipation of our neighbourhood street parties.
Back then, street parties were a thing rather than a rarity. Kids running around playing tag, riding their bikes up and down the streets, jumping from back yard to backyard, our parents dragging out the BBQs, strategising about who was going to cook what, and how many eskies they had between them to keep the beer and bubbles cold.
Fast forward to today and technology controls nearly every aspect of our lives, including the way we interact with our family and friends. This, combined with our busy and independent lifestyles, prevents us from bumping into our neighbours to ask how they are travelling and establishing relationships with those living close by.
Giving our neighbours a simple wave or saying “hello” when crossing paths eliminates isolation and creates a sense of security and community in the neighbourhood. This nurtures relationships where people will look out for each and lend a hand, whether it be shared school picks ups, or to borrow a cup of sugar for that banana bread recipe.
There are a number of Canberra suburbs that proactively maintain close community connections.
Hackett resident Dave reckons Hull Place is a great example.
“Hull Place is a welcoming journey back to the good old days,” Dave says. “We love the street parties for Christmas. These usually include families within the street, but also many from the wider Hackett community, too. We also have a ‘Christmas in July’, warming curry night during the cooler months also tops off the sense of community.”
Building community can lead to stronger social networks and increased communication between neighbours within the area.
So let’s stop living life minute by minute. Take the time to put down the iPhone, ignore that email and spend an evening getting to know your neighbour.
Let’s create the sense of community we grew up with for our children to enjoy.
Cris O’Brien is a residential real estate sales agent with a boutique agency, home.byholly, which focuses on selling houses throughout established Canberra suburbs.
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