Design communities so that neighbors can borrow sugar
This image is from an illustrative article called This Is How Borrowing Things From Our Neighbors Strengthens Society, by Sarah Lazarovic in Yes! journal. Here’s the tagline: Research shows that small talk and casual connections create happy communities and less-lonely individuals.
Although there is nothing about community design in the article, it ties closely with how places are laid out. If you live in a walkable neighborhood, there are a lot more people around from which you can borrow a cup of sugar, an egg, a specific tool, or whatever you may be lacking at the moment. If you have to get in your car to go to the neighbor’s house, chances are that you will just go to the store and buy it—and in the case of the tool it may only be used a handful of times.
As the tagline suggests, the author makes the case that borrowing from neighbors and making small talk has value in itself. “Even people who think that they don’t want to borrow the sugar report being much happier after doing so,” Lazarovic writes. “Behavioral science professor Nicholas Epley conducted a study of Chicago commuters, assigning some to make small talk with their neighbors and others to not. Even those who say they don’t want to interact with others report being much happier when they do. Says Epley, ‘people could improve their own well-being—and that of others—by simply being more social with strangers, trying to create connections where one might otherwise choose isolation.’ ”