Monday, March 1, 2010

Social Capital #1

Took the extra long route today, with a major detour through downtown. It was good for about 300 extra steps. The change of scenery was nice, too. I was reading someone’s online comments the other day about “Why Walking Matters.” One supposed reason is “Increased Social Capital.” How so? Walking, unlike driving, promotes more face-to-face interaction with neighbors. Makes sense to me.

I’m putting the theory to the test this week. I started this morning by formulating a target zone for my face-to-face efforts. I typically pass 15 houses on my way to campus each day…7 of which are especially important to me. For one, these houses are the closest to my own. My goal this week is to learn something new about at least one of these 7 neighbors—not by simple observation, but by meaningful interaction. Here’s a shorthand way I’ll be referring to each “target”…1. Sears, 2. Meals on Wheels, 3. Duplex, 4. Nice Lawn, 5. Abandoned, 6. Beekeeper, 7. Yellow House. Most mornings these 7 neighbors are either off to work, still in bed, or just hibernating. My best opportunities may be later in the day. I’ll record my social successes and failures right here. Stay tuned.

P.S. Snagged a 2-ply, industrial strength piece of paper towel from the street in front of (you guessed it) Hall Roland Hall. The sidewalk area of this dorm seems to be a magnet for litter. A student saw me picking up the trash & for a change, I didn’t mind at all.

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