As the world grows more connected, digitally and physically, people are living closer together and interacting in ways they never have before. As a result, the process of building communities – coming together with people across cultures to share goals and ideas – is more important than ever before.
When it comes to joining together to make our neighborhoods, our cities, and our world better, one of the most important things we can do is to find out what we have in common. When we share something with the people around us – no matter how small or insignificant it seems – it can help us make connections we never realized we could.
Public art projects, community development groups, and museums are some of the people and organizations who are using this principle to bring us all closer. Check out these amazing examples of people getting together in completely new ways.
“Before I Die” is a project that puts blackboards up in neighborhoods and gives people the chance to share a goal in their life. It might be climbing a mountain, eating an ice cream cone, or becoming president – the beauty of the project is that every goal is different, but seeing other people’s goals inspires us to pursue our own.
The Philbrook Museum of Art, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is building connections by giving the public a chance to share what they want to see at the museum in the next 25 years. There are no restrictions on how many suggestions a person can make, no requirements for how realistic they are, and no age limit. Ideas range from homeschool art classes to a “real light saber.” But what’s really inspiring is how much people like reading each other’s ideas – and how it helps them connect to other museum visitors, whether they visit on the same day or weeks apart.
Not every example of community building with shared ideas is planned. Sometimes, people come together spontaneously, often around a loss or tragedy, to support each other via the simple sharing of messages of hope. When Steve Jobs passed away, the Apple store in Palo Alto became an impromptu memorial for him. Fans of Jobs, his company, and the impact he had on the world covered the front windows of the store in notes that expressed their sorrow, their love, and their hope for the future.
Sometimes, what we share in a small way can make a huge difference – and can be the first step on the journey to a better, friendlier world.