At this time, the time of COVID-19, change for the better seems possible. The system failures exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic may allow us to see enough of the system to create different approaches, more local, more human, more humane approaches.
48.7198427, -122.5003052 Marc's House 48.6999825, -122.4460602 BoBo's Dog Park 48.6717388, -122.6225281 Overnight Anchorage 48.8209061, -122.3307037 Bill and Judy's Place 48.6478194, -122.4866152 Larrabee State Park Hikes 48.9218013, -122.1403313 Carl's Neighborhood 48.8572188, -121.6818237 Skiing and Hiking on Mt Baker 48.7619884, -122.9033661 Hang out at Sucia Is.
I live in Bellingham Washington.
I am a physician (internist and ER physician), a local health system innovator, and I was a health care executive for 19 years. Like many other health care professionals, my Purpose is helping people in distress.
I was a local executive leader of Pursuing Perfection a five year national grant with the mandate to reinvent or redesign US Healthcare, funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. With local leadership by patients and providers we did just that.
During those years I learned about functions that are best taken care of at the neighborhood level. John McKnight authored two critically important books, The Careless Society: Community and it's Counterfeits and The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighbors. The latter was coauthored with Peter Block. Please read them both. Really! Viable neighborhoods are key to health and resilience--human and ecological.
As the antrhropocene advances I find myself thinking rather anatomically and physiologically about society. I have come to perceive neighborhoods as the basic units of society, it is akin to the cells in a human body. To my way of thinking neighborhoods are best thought of as including less than 7000 individuals who can voluntarily interact face-to-face in a shared place that they care about. In my anatomic version of society, individuals and households are more akin to the biochemistry.
Neighborhoods are either healthy or they are at risk. Their relationships with the encompassing municipalities (organs) are healthy or unhealthy. Most of our life giving process occur in our neighborhoods--if it is still capable and healthy. These include production of food, housing, safe drinking water, education; work; security. At smaller or larger scales the system is less resilient and less ecologically sound.
So how do neighbors take care of their neighborhoods? That is really the only question I have. The question requires empirical answers, living answers.
What are the Advantages of Governments over neighborhoods?
What are the Advantages of Businesses over neighborhoods?
I am curious about the "biochemistry", the latent Power of Neighbors in their neighborhoods. What are neighbors capable of? What futures will they create for themselves and adjacent others? How may they balance their power with the power of governments and outside businesses? How will they balance their relationships within the neighborhood? They need to continually develop life supporting structures and organization with their neighborhoods to survive and thrive.
What are the Advantages of Neighbors over governments and businesses?
Which government and business advantages can neighborhoods reappropriate for themselves.
Which neighborhood advantages are exclusive to neighborhoods?
Can these unique neighborhood powers be leveraged to position neighborhoods on par with governments and outside businesses?
Of course we need levels of government all the way up to the planet level. And we need businesses all the way up too. But, we should not delegate to governments or businesses that which we can locally do together for ourselves. It costs us and our children dearly when we make that tempting mistake. Allowing ourselves to be taken care of is careless behavior with repercussions--it is disabling.