Abundant Community Edmonton
Connecting neighbours and communities in Chinatown.
Remember the days when neighbours would pop by for a cup of coffee and a chat? Abundant Community Edmonton (ACE) is working to bring back the impromptu neighbourly drop-in.
ACE has been in Chinatown all summer long, knocking on doors and introducing residents to one another through a series of block parties.
The purpose of each party is to bring the neighbours together, identify people who can take on the role as Block Connector, and encourage ongoing social interactions with the residents of that neighbourhood. ACE’s time in Chinatown is building on the initiatives they hosted in greater McCauley in 2019.
Debra Jakubec, Project Manager for ACE, explains that neighbours are often the forgotten component when considering the various supports that enrich our sense of connection. “Friends and family are important connections to have in our lives, but we spend most of our days surrounded by our neighbours.”
Over the summer, ACE hosted three block parties in Chinatown where residents fully embraced the opportunity to build connections as they brought out face paints, games for kids, music, food, and extra folding chairs. One block party helped connect a newly-arrived family from the Philippines with their neighbours, helping them gain a stronger sense of belonging in the city.
ACE’s Chinatown focus has been in support of the ongoing initiatives the City of Edmonton has been doing in the McCauley community and throughout downtown to help improve safety and well-being in communities with a higher density of vulnerable populations.
Safety has been top-of-mind in Chinatown and during conversations with residents, one woman shared how impactful neighbourly connections are. “Our building is located in what can be considered by most people a very ‘rough area.’ However, the feeling of friendliness and support is mind-blowing!”
ACE’s research has shown that the best way to increase safety in your community is to get out there and meet the people on your block. Knowing as few as six neighbours reduces the likelihood of feeling lonely and is linked to lowering depression and social anxiety.
So, next time you see your neighbour, be sure to wave hello, ask the name of their pup, or help them carry groceries to their porch. Building connections through simple gestures like these will create long lasting impacts in your level of enjoyment in your neighbourhood. And who knows? Maybe it’ll also come in handy next time you need to borrow a cup of sugar.
For more information on Abundant Community Edmonton, or to learn how to host your own block party, visit edmonton.ca/abundantcommunity.
Information submitted by the City of Edmonton.