I think we should bring back the local village… Do you?

Remember the days when you’d ride down the street on your bike, past Mrs McLean’s house, past the service station, wave to Mr Thomas who was hard at work on a car, pass the bakery letting the warm smell of freshly baked bread make you hungry and you’d finally stop at the milk bar? You’d meet two of your friends there, pool your funds and get yourself a milkshake to share and with the change you’d get a bag of lollies from the adjacent corner store. It was a great way to grow up, we all knew the people around us and it was a safe community. Sadly, community spirit is something that has over time died out, but recent development trends look like it could be making a comeback. I think it’s a great idea – do you?

Over the last two decades we’ve seen thousands of houses rolled out in new developments. These estates are choc-a-block with houses for kilometres on giant lots, but they contain nothing more. New developments are changing though, and the trends propose a very exciting future for anyone who loves the “village’ concept. They are currently designing smaller lots with more community spaces and are including mixed-use zoning within developments. Essentially, the backyard may be gone, but the community park, corner store and bakery are all making a comeback.

While there’s nothing positive about the demise of the backyard – any child knows it’s a place of imagination and excitement – it does give children a unique opportunity that they don’t really have right now. It means that to play, they go to a communal space and have the change to make friends with the neighbourhood. This brings parents’ out of their own home to meet their neighbours and forms a secure, trusting community. Security and trust are two things that have almost totally diminished with the collapse of the local village, and this gives us an opportunity to bring it all back!

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Bringing back the local village provides us with the tools to build better, more sustainable communities. Community gardens become not only a community activity, but also a pillar of sustainable living. When communities become close networks, they feed off one another and people pass work to others, they share together and work together to achieve common goals and naturally when people are happy, they tend to look after the things that make them happy – in this scenario their environment is one of them.

But most importantly, the local village can help us to bring back community and social connection. In a day and age where technology is the one thing most people have in common, where technology is the one form of communication and leisure, there’s so much isolation and so little human connection. Bringing back the local village means that people can have face-to-face conversations with others. They can meet new people to form close friendships and support groups. Communities have the chance to form like they did in our childhood. Some of the best memories we have come out of our close-knit neighbourhoods, and this might give our grandchildren and their own children the chance to enjoy the wonderful lives that we did, too.

Tell us, do you want to see the local village make a comeback? Do you want to see more community spirit? Share your memories of your local village in the comments below…