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How to Build a Community

In the Central District of Seattle (my old neighborhood), there is a piece of property set aside as small, wooded, urban park called "Nora's Wood". Nora Wood, MD bought the land and created the park before she died in the early 1990's. Neighborhood volunteers now maintain the property.

On the corner where the park begins, neighbors erected a sign that means a lot to me, for a number of reasons. A while back I wrote down what is written on the sign to share with an online community I managed.

I ran across it recently and thought it would be a good thing to post here. I hope you'll think about (and share) these things in terms of your own community and the community we share online.

How to Build a Community:

  • Turn off the TV
  • Know your neighbor
  • Look up when you are walking
  • Greet people
  • Sit on the stoop
  • Plant flowers
  • Use your library
  • Play together
  • Buy from local merchants
  • Share what you have
  • Help a lost dog
  • Take children to the park
  • Garden together
  • Support neighborhood schools
  • Fix it even if you didn't break it
  • Have block parties
  • Honor your elders
  • Pick up litter
  • Read stories aloud
  • Dance in the street
  • Talk to the mail carrier
  • Listen to the birds
  • Put up a swing
  • Help carry something heavy
  • Barter for goods
  • Start a tradition
  • Ask a question
  • Hire young people for odd jobs
  • Have a pot-luck
  • Bake extra and share
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Open your shades
  • Sing together
  • Share your skills
  • Take back the night
  • Turn up the music
  • Turn down the music
  • Listen before you react to anger
  • Seek to understand
  • Listen from new and uncomfortable angles
  • Know that no one is silent, but many are not heard

-Author unknown


I've heard through the grapevine that this originated from a similar sign somewhere in California and was copied for the sign in Seattle. If anyone known the origin, I'd love to know about it...