This week, we wanted to invite you to take part in Porch Placemaking Week – a global initiative which encourages people to activate their front porch (or balcony, street, front yard, stoop or driveway) to create socially connected neighbourhoods as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative arose in 2020 whilst the majority of the world was in lockdown and saw 202 projects across 23 countries! This year, the projects will be run across the world from 27th September – 3rd October.
The week-long initiative provides local community members with simple opportunities to take initiative to connect with their neighbours during the pandemic and beyond. Participants are encouraged to participate by taking one small step to connect with their neighbour – pot plants on the front porch, chalk on the sidewalk, games in the front yard, pictures in the window, music on the front steps or balcony. Projects could be as simple as spending more time in your front yard to wave to neighbours as they pass by or putting a picture or message in your window to show support to your community as they venture out on their daily walk.
“Cities around the world are turning to outdoor spaces, to facilitate activities we used to do indoors. Our space for interaction has shrunk dramatically as people are confined to the borders of their properties. But, whilst we are physically distant, we can remain socially connected,” shares urban planning expert Lucinda Hartley, the instigator of the Porch Placemaking Week event who is also urban tech co-founder of Australian data analytics firm, Neighbourlytics.
Research by CoDesign Studio has shown that when local people are actively involved in the design, programming, and activation of their own local places, this contributes to the social, cultural, environmental and economic value of a place.
In speaking with project partners from across the globe, it is clear there is a collective sense of exhaustion as the loss of friends and family and ongoing lockdowns continues to take its toll on physical and mental wellbeing. However, now more than ever, social connection is important. Participating in Porch Placemaking and taking small local actions during the pandemic, assists in building stronger local connections.
“The Covid19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of local neighbourhoods and public spaces more than ever. Placemaking is something everyone can be a part of, so the idea behind Porch Placemaking Week was to show how easy it can be to make a difference, even during this challenging time,” says Lucinda Hartley.
Examples of small-scale, contact-less, initiatives could include:
- Chalk drawings on the street
- Sharing excess produce, such as lemons
- Swapping seeds
- Spending more time out the front of your house
- Displaying a picture or sign in your front window
Learn more and view some projects already taking place and Get Inspired.