The mission of Streets For All is to build community by making streets more accessible as social spaces
Community is essential
Community – the bonds that exist between people who know and trust each other – is the “glue” of society. This glue makes it possible for people to help each other and keep one another safe and happy. In other words, community is essential.
And yet, community has reached historic lows. Fewer neighbors know each other than ever before. Without mutual support, people are becoming more depressed, substance dependence is rising, and households are more economically fragile. Unless we rebuild community, these problems will worsen.
Streets are crucial to strong communities
Streets are the most abundant public spaces, existing where we live and wherever we go. Safe, inviting streets allow community to thrive; dangerous, polluted streets destroy community. It’s hard to imagine now, but 100 years ago people could do anything in the streets: Walk, talk to their neighbors, play, conduct business, and so on. This didn’t just happen on the sidewalk but right in the middle of the street. Occasionally, the street would widen and become a square, a place specifically intended as a gathering place, a focal point of community.
We live in a different world now. If you step into the street today there’s a good chance you could be injured or killed. This is considered normal. Without streets playing their historical role as social spaces, community has been pushed to the sides and as streets have become wider, polluted, and more dangerous many streets have become completely empty of people.
Mulberry Street, New York City, 1900
A common street today
Streets For All is rebuilding community by helping neighbors access their streets
Begun in 2010, our initiatives focus on empowering bottom up grassroots efforts to reclaim streets through block parties and community-organized street fairs. We also lead urban design walks to educate people on the importance of the built environment in shaping how we live.
At dozens of grassroots events it helped initiate, Streets For All’s work has introduced thousands of neighbors to one another, leading to new growth in community. “At [the community street fairs], we come together to celebrate our common love for the neighborhood. Through these events we get to know each other on a first name basis and build strong friendships,” says neighbor/organizer Walter Van Riel.
Join us in the quest to rebuild community and let’s truly make the streets for all.