Raise the value of your social network.
Take a walk.
If we can walk from our home to work, to school, to shop, to see friends, to return a library book - we’re likely to keep our weight down, we know that.
And, yes, living in a walkable neighborhood we’ll probably spend less on gas, maybe avoid a second car.
And our house may be worth more.
Or volunteer more?
Or watch TV less?
Researchers evaluated 700 residents of three communities in New Hampshire on things like socializing with friends, civic activities, and trust in their community. Those in neighborhoods with higher Walk Score ratings reported being happier and healthier and more likely to volunteer, work on community projects, or entertain friends in their home. (The Walk Score website rates locations by how easy it is to reach everyday destinations on foot.)
The authors tell us,
“This study is significant because the relationship between physical community structure and social capital really hasn’t been explored much. It says something about how we might design neighborhoods in the future not to just save gas but to increase social capital.”
I looked up social capital. It means the value of one’s social network. ”Just as a screwdriver (physical capital) or a university education (human capital) can increase productivity (both individual and collective), so do social contacts affect the productivity of individuals and groups.”
I can understand that. My four miles to the library and back usually result in a few conversations, some observations and ideas, and a general feeling that I know and like my neighbors better. What about you?
Here’s the point. Many predict the financial pressures of this decade are going to make us all more reliant on sharing and caring within our communities. If so, raising our trust and connection within the neighborhood is a head start.
And anyway it feels good to know that, even if my investment and real estate capital has been stagnant, my social capital may be growing.