At a time in history when we are experiencing unprecedented levels of digital connectedness, the reality is we are lonelier than ever. While the internet, smart phones, email, texts, and social media tools were all designed to improve communication, those same tools have conspired to provide a false sense of relationship and connectedness. Numerous studies have exposed the loneliness problem, one study even demonstrating that loneliness is more damaging to our personal health than smoking, drinking and obesity combined.
As part of our town planning and neighborhood design effort, the Pinewood Forest team has kept human connectedness front and center. Front porches close to the street, miles of walking paths, a community mail center, dog parks, shared micro-parks and amenities, and abundant seating areas are all design elements that help create positive human collisions.
In addition to the built environment, regularly scheduled programming that is designed to facilitate human interaction and social connection provides a 1-2 punch against loneliness. Each Friday at 5:00pm you will find dozens of Pinewood Forest residents kicking off the weekend together at something we simply call “The Weekly’. This gathering is one example of how a community can intentionally facilitate relationship development. Our resident feedback for “The Weekly” and other gatherings has encouraged us to create additional avenues for our friends and family to connect.
This battle against loneliness is worth fighting and we remain committed to creating both environments and programming that can make a difference. As always, I would appreciate hearing from anyone with ideas or best practices to share at firstname.lastname@example.org.