Connecting generations to address social needs
Core Components of Intentional Neighboring
Intentional Neighboring doesn’t just happen when people live next door to each other. Years of practical experience and research have led us to identify eight core components (three foundational values and five essential design patterns) that comprise the key underpinnings of the Intentional Neighboring paradigm.
Each component represents a critical difference from “conventional” practice. When some component is missing, it diminishes the power of Intentional Neighboring to transform a collection of housing into, as described by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation: “an extended family neighborhood with a shared purpose: supporting one another through the challenges of growing up, growing old, and growing together.”
The core of Intentional Neighboring is the value it places on the formation and sustaining of caring relationships. Of special significance is the value it places on the relationships, and their contributions to well-being, created by both older adults and those considered most vulnerable—two groups for whom society has generally has low expectations. These values must be woven into the fabric of neighborhood life on a daily basis.
Intentional Neighboring involves embracing three foundational values:
While shared core values are critical to the success of an Intergenerational Neighboring initiative, other key characteristics also contribute by creating an organizational “scaffold” upon which a network of relationships can emerge and proliferate. We call these distinctive features design patterns, following the lead of architect Christopher Alexander. Design patterns are broad guidelines that can be implemented in various and often innovative ways. Together they form an intuitive template for creating opportunities and supports for successful interaction and long-term flourishing, and when implemented flexibly and creatively, can resolve the natural tensions entailed in forming community out of diversity.
There are at least five design patterns which appear to be integral to Intentional Neighboring: