We are in the process of moving to a house with a front porch that you can actually sit on in the summer–the kind of front porch I remember from my childhood. It’s the kind of porch where my girlfriend and I spent hours reading comic books, playing games, calling out to neighbors as they walked by.
Then we moved…and our front porch was just big enough for us to stand on in order to unlock the front door.
Instead, we had a deck off the back door. It was where my dad BBQed in summer, where we sat with friends and visited in warmer weather. But we no longer saw neighbors walking by.
We lost something then–an easy sense of neighborhood closeness. We were still able to develop that, because we lived on a cul-de-sac, and the neighbors intentionally gathered together periodically for neighborhood picnics and potlucks.
But for those who weren’t lucky enough to live in that kind of neighborhood, the easy sense of community gradually began to disappear.
The neighborhood we’re moving to is in an older part of our town. There are some houses with problems, but as I look around, many of them have front porches. I also see many people passing by our house as they jog or walk their dogs.
And I am looking forward to sitting on the front porch when the weather gets warmer…saying “hi” to folks who pass by. Maybe we need to build more houses with front porches so it’s not as easy to insulate ourselves from each other…just a thought.