Future Living: Fun Healthy Communities

We all have many 'hats' that we wear. We all play multiple and varied roles within our personal lives, families and social network, work, and community.

By Camilla Carty-Melis

A cool little activity is to have a think about the different roles you have in your communities and networks. Where are you connected? Where are your skills and/or relationships strongest? Where can you build your skills and/or relationships?In groups (so we could build on each other's ideas), we explored two ideas:

  1. What does active citizenship look like?
  2. What makes communities resilient, inclusive, diverse, fun, and healthy?

Here are the ideas we had:

Some initiatives and ideas that we can participate in to help make our communities fun and resilient are further discussed below.

Swap and Share Tables

Swap and share tables are a super way to share surplus, exchange goods we no longer need, re-use and recycle items, and get the community talking.

There is one at my work and about 3 years ago I set one up outside where I lived at the time. Within the last 3 years I have seen or heard of at least another half dozen that have cropped up around the city.

Some are modestly sized (one is made from a converted shopping basket), some are large (one place even transformed their whole garage into a free shop). Some only share garden surplus, others are exclusively for books. Some have anything and everything!

There is great environmental and social value in fostering swapping and sharing cultures. They encourage the use and re-use of items that might otherwise be discarded, which is good for the environment as it reduces waste and strain on resources. And is good for communities as it encourages them to be better connected.

Shira Golding wrote a great post about how to organise swap and share events.

Other resources that are related include The Freecycle Network, which is a global sharing network which you sign up to (for free) and you can share, gift and receive items for free in your local community.

Guerrilla Gardening 

Another way to be active (even if it is a bit subversive) for your community is to engage in guerrilla gardening. Why? Because guerrilla gardening offers free food for the community, makes places productive or more attractive, engages us with nature, and encourages biodiversity.

Guerrilla Gardening is the act of transforming under-utilised public space to make it productive of beautiful. For example, in Kirikiriroa Hamilton (where I live), outside most homes there are grassy berms owned by the council. They are a monoculture with no productive value and limited aesthetic value. So… we transformed ours into a productive community veggie patch, and it continues to attract people several years down the track.

There are some tips, tricks and etiquette when it comes to guerrilla gardening. They are summed up will in this short videoclip:


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