Simple Ways You Can Improve Your Hometown
You don’t just live in a house or an apartment. You live in a community. And to thrive, you need each other. You can get involved in whatever way you feel comfortable, even from home—planning, organizing, communicating. Here are a few simple ways you can improve your hometown, but your ideas might be even better.
Make It Bike Friendly
If it feels like cars are zooming through your neighborhood, there are a number of ways to slow things down and reclaim your streets. If the lines are wide enough, consider looking into adding bike lanes that will keep you and your neighbors safer. You can petition for stop signs at increasingly busy intersections and encourage kids to bike to school with district initiatives and even federal funds. It’s good for the environment, everyone’s health, and the general sense of togetherness.
Establish a Dog Park
If pet owners only have the sidewalks for their strolls, pedestrians may come up against more obstacles than are ideal—including overlooked excremental obstacles. It’s in everyone’s best interests to give animals a place of their own. After all, they’re starved for a social life, too. You might be able to convert an existing park or put up a fence around a vacant lot.
Start a Free Library
Communities across the country are catching on to humble “free libraries,” which look like oversized birdhouses where you can borrow or leave a book. They’re a charming way to recycle books, discover new literature, and even get to know your neighbors a bit more. You can build your own free library or buy something prefabricated. Just make sure you check with the town government for the best location and join the online free library community for tips and resources.
Decorate Your Streets
Cars passing through may not know where your town begins and ends or get the hint that they should slow down and enjoy the vibe. Announce that they’ve arrived with friendly welcome signs and plantings that foster goodwill. You can add personality and a strong identity to your downtown or shopping district using street signs with different ornamental themes: modern, quaint, vintage, and more. Add plantings to medians and planters on sidewalks. You can even class up the garbage receptacles! Make your hometown look like it has a festival spirit even when no special events are going on.
Host Outdoor Movies
It might not be safe yet to gather in your town square and watch a classic film together, but you can plan a series now or strategize how to distance viewers safely. When the weather gets warmer, stir-crazy families will welcome the chance to get out of their homes and join the community again. You can rent an elaborate screen or project the movie onto the side of a building, then take suggestions for the locals’ favorite flicks. Even amateur attempts can be fun and attract more volunteers to improve the next screening. The most effective way you can improve your hometown is to use it and encourage others to take advantage of the community’s resources, too. It’s one more reminder that we’re not as alone as we might be feeling.