Do Neighborhoods Matter? – October 24, 2013

• Do Neighborhoods Matter? Building Connections in Vibrant Communities October 24, 2013

The Glastonbury Martin Luther King Community Initiative (GMLKCI) sponsored a forum entitled “Do Neighborhoods Matter? Building Connections in Vibrant Communities” at the Glastonbury Riverfront Community Center on October 24, 2013.

The event featured a panel moderated by Hartford Courant Deputy Editor Tom Condon including:
• Peter Lovenheim, a noted author and journalist
• Dr. Anne Marie Garran, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Connecticut
• Dr. Andrew Walsh of the Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College
• Susan Campbell, Communications Director for the Partnership for Strong Communities

The topic for this Community Conversation was sparked by Mr. Lovenheim’s book In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time. The book centers on Mr. Lovenheim’s efforts to get to know his neighbors after a neighboring family was destroyed in a tragic murder-suicide. Mr. Lovenheim had lived in the same neighborhood for many years, but it was only after that tragedy he realized that “a fact of modern life in contemporary American communities [was that] no one really knew anyone else.” Mr. Lovenheim wondered if those deaths could have been prevented had his neighbors known each other better – perhaps help could have been provided. He was inspired to get better acquainted with his neighbors and asked to sleep overnight and shadow his neighbors’ lives for a day. His book grew out of that experience.

“In Peter Lovenheim’s book, a tragedy occurred that we can no longer claim could not possibly happen in our neighborhoods in Glastonbury,” said Diane Lucas, a GMLKCI member and leading force behind the Community Conversations. “Life has shown us that disconnects can carry a heavy price. Mr. Lovenheim’s experience in getting to know his neighbors can give us an opportunity to think about how our neighborhoods could benefit from stronger connections.” Lucas continued, “Whenever there is a discussion about building connections between citizens in a community, we all benefit.”