You and your community

Getting involved in your local community is a great way to be the change you want to see in the world. You might find new friends along the way!

Summer lunch at a restaurant, one guy is talking into a microphone, others listening.

There’s a small but effective bicycle user group where I live. The reason I became a member is because at some point I bought a book from my local indie bookshop and it got delivered by a cycle courier.

Or so I thought. Turns out the bicycle user group and the indie bookstore are BFFs, and if they (the bookstore) have a delivery that’s in the same locale, they’ll just ask the cyclists if anyone’s up for delivering it. We’re usually roaming the streets anyways, so there’s no cost to us, plus we get to discover places in the town that we wouldn’t have biked to otherwise. This is entirely volunteer based, and it’s awesome!

One of the other things, as I found out, this user group does is pay attention to local planning permissions from developers, the town council, and the district council, and occasionally from the wider county council as well. Example of plans include wanting to build an office complex or a new housing area, but the public access infrastructure is bad because it prioritizes car access at the cost of pedestrians and cyclists. In those cases we get back to the government and tell them that maybe they should take into account non-car traffic as well. They have to listen as there’s a consultation period, but that only works if we proactively keep an eye on the website and get our views in before the consultation period ends.

Another example I love is the guy behind the jonjon.jpeg Instagram account. He’s local to Chattanooga, TN, and essentially does the same thing: pays attention to what the city is doing, and advises them around pedestrian safety and how they can transform parts of the city to make it better for non-car access. There’s a lot of architecture and urbanism involved, and I’m learning a lot.

Here’s a reel about housing density, and how that benefits everyone:

As a pleasant consequence, this also helps me feel a lot more connected to the people I live among.

After all, we live in a society.

I’m off to deliver a book to someone who lives close by. Until next time!

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash