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Homeownership: A Portal to Community?
More community within neighborhoods is a trending goal. People are wanting to socialize with neighbors again and it is showing up in communities all across America. There are benefits to knowing your neighbors, building a network at home. 
 
In the 1800s, it was necessary to be outdoors, especially in the summer months, to stay cool. Front porches were a place to do household chores like folding laundry or tending to freshly harvested vegetables. Some porches were the cool summer sleeping spot, especially if bedrooms were on a second floor. As a result of time spent outdoors, you were aware of your neighbors and what went on in the neighborhood. Porches were meeting places to catch up on news or perhaps get to know a special someone better.  
 
Congregating happened easily and often as the front porch was a place to relax after dinner in the cool evening breeze. Remember watching The Andy Griffith Show and seeing them sitting on the front porch while Andy played his guitar? That was the scene in communities across America up to the 1960’s. Air conditioning and TVs pulled people off the porch and into the house and life started to become more private.  
 
 With the tense temperament of the news and social media lately, it may seem ironic that people are drawn to desiring community while at home again. One definition of community is, “an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location.” Interacting with one’s neighbors will break down barriers as it builds a network of connection, assistance, and broadened perspectives. It is not ironic at all that when chaos surrounds an environment, people are driven to make sense by finding other people with whom people to connect. There is no better place to look than your neighbors, to learn that they play in a band and you enjoy local music; or to discover the woman two houses down is struggling to get her lawn mowed as her husband is ill and she works overtime, and you have an extra hour on the weekend you could get it done for her. 
 
Norwalk, the town I live in, has an organized event the evening of the second Wednesday of June, July, and August from 6 – 8 PM called Front Porch Norwalk. The concept is simple: a neighbor steps forward to be a host, invites their neighbors, and pulls out their lawn chairs on their porches, driveways, and lawns. This event has been going on for several years now and is very popular.  
 
Homeownership, human nature, and porches are outlets for relationship building of the community kind. 
 
Norwalk IA Real Estate – Jon Niemeyer, Broker/Owner/REALTOR® at EXIT Realty North Star. I list and sell real estate in Central Iowa including Norwalk, Des Moines, West Des Moines, Cumming, Indianola, Carlisle, Waukee, Urbandale, Grimes, Clive, Johnston, Ankeny, Altoona, and Pleasant Hill in the Counties of Warren, Polk, Dallas, and Madison. Call Jon Niemeyer at 515-490-4675.
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