Why community matters in big cities20th October 2015
Despite economic downturn, we Londoners are relatively as affluent now as we have ever been, with more leisure time than ever, and enough disposable income to enjoy ourselves.
However, a 2014 poll by Rightmove suggests that the 10 unhappiest UK neighbourhoods are in London, with east London topping the chart.
Part of the reason for our relative unhappiness is the sacrifices we make in order to live in the city, with less space to be comfortable. The price of housing is putting more travelling distance between us and our friends and families, with the influx of both domestic and international settlers to our city all together creating a decreased social attachment to our communities.
One of the really negative aspects of modern London is that it can be hard to feel part of a community, and it’s easy to feel detached and anonymous.
A lack of community is increasingly a problem in modern society. Pubs and bars were once at the heart of every community, the domain of friendly landlords who ran them as community spaces.
But now the perfectly personable duty managers in large chains are understandably more given to worrying about safety, hygiene and food sales than about engaging their communities and organising interesting events and trips.
But around the country a groundswell of organisations and community-minded individuals are reviving that lost spirit. Through their hard work, bars and interesting event spaces are being brought back to the hearts of real communities.
Leading the charge in London, thinking bob has already developed a strong community of individuals from all backgrounds who gather together for debates, quizzes and evening and weekend events at various bars, restaurants and hidden gems around the capital, all led by four personable souls (and their team of trusted hosts) who have a vision of a living community every week of the year.
More than that, through their commitment to recreating community, the thinking bob team have also lifted their community out of its sedentary position for treasure hunts, pub quizzes, adventures, museum and gallery trips, tours and talks, creating a community which is relevant to all ages, backgrounds and nationalities.
They’re bringing people out of their homes to mix with each other in the streets, parks and unique places of London, in the heart of the greatest city on earth.
Tom Jones is the author of Tired of London, Tired of Life: One thing a day to do in London, and is creator/co-organiser of Talking to Strangers, which he runs with thinking bob.
For details of the next talking to strangers event see our socials page.
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