The Neighborhood is Living Narrative
The Neighborhood is a dynamic, Living Narrative, an unfolding autobiography, a melding of countless individual stories; raveling not in words but in movement, fear, desire, need, coupling-the daily of living.
The neighborhood seen is a narrative painted upon the canvas of the neighborhood invisible; meaning – definition – is not found in the narrative, but in the illegible depths of the unseen, the unheard, neighborhood. To think that the “painting” is the narrative is delusional. For what is seen is but an incomplete snapshot in time, one fragment of the ever-unfolding narrative. Incomplete because it cannot capture the full dynamic of that moment, limited to the immediate perspective and surround.
Yet we delude ourselves into believing that we can arrange the narrative of “captured neighborhood” into a collage called “The Neighborhood.” Deluded, we seek to manage that which has been captured, convincing ourselves the fiction that we write is The Neighborhood.
And The Neighborhood ceases to exist.
“Neighborhoods decline when the people who live there lose their connection and no longer feel part of their community.” – The Great Neighborhood Book (Intro)
It is the premise of The Neighborhood Project that if our urban neighborhoods are going to remain strong, vital, and dynamic, the neighborhood, i.e., the residents, must first know its rhythms – and the ever-evolving stories that flow within the rhythms – understand their meaning, and learn how to apply them as a vision for the future. Otherwise, in time, the neighborhood will lose the very character that made it attractive in the first place, and in a real sense cease to exist.
“Understanding a neighborhood is about more than simply eating in a restaurant or shopping in an eclectic store – it is about exploring the streets, experiencing the people and the sounds. It is about feeling the internal rhythms of the everyday.” – adapted from an advertisement
The mission of The Neighborhood Project is simple: To glean the illegible depths of the unseen & unheard, that is, the invisible neighborhood, the canvas upon which all we call “neighborhood” is written. In so doing, we hope to give voice to the rhythms in a way that reconnects residents personally and collectively, and emotionally with their neighborhood, providing a sense of place and future direction.
Storytelling is at the root of every bit of neighborliness, every neighborhood, every family, every culture. Through storytelling we discover who we are, where we came from, and where we are headed. Through storytelling we discover how we fit into, and connect with, the larger context.
The Neighborhood Project hopes, not so much to tell the story, but to give voice to the story in a way that reminds us that no matter where we live, within the neighborhood or not, we are all connected one to another.
Neighborhood storytelling in a way that resonates emotionally within each person hearing the story is more than merely passing along a tale, it is the placing of the story, or more accurately recognizing the place the story, within the internal rhythm of the daily. Neighborhood stories placed within the rhythm are:
- Neighborhood stories that converse with other neighborhood stories flowing within the rhythm of the daily.
- Neighborhood stories that are personal & emotional; that create a sense of belonging, a sense of place, and a sense of pride, and ultimately, community.
- Neighborhood stories that are contextual; that make sense of what the neighborhood is, its behaviors, and how it fits into the larger context.
- Neighborhood stories that provide an array of potential and possibility.
Capturing the Story: The Biograph*
The Neighborhood Project uses a provocative and unique combination of photos & videos (current & historical) interviews, sounds, and stories from history, melded together, to capture a neighborhood’s sense of internal rhythm. The project’s goal is to create those “a-ha” moments in which residents and neighborhood become one, and we, the observer, move beyond voyeur to become part of the larger rhythm.
* The biograph is the neighborhood’s internal rhythm (story) revealed, or illumined.
Please see the listing of Neighborhood Building Tools in the sidebar. Clicking on title will open the page.
Want more info?
Please use the contact form to find out more, ask questions, to become involved, or to a neighborhood group presentation. Thank you.