How to Foster Community Spirit in Busy Urban Cities

Although urban living places everyone in crowded situations most of the time, it’s not uncommon for a lot of people to feel quite isolated as well. This is due to the hectic lifestyles most people lead, and the tendency of most folks to be closed off once they get to their homes. This is quite apparent for those who live in luxurious apartment blocks in Dubai.

In a documentary about apartment living, one of the vital points mentioned was people’s need to secure their privacy. This explains why key lockers and nameplates by the doors only have numbers and no names. On top of that, most apartment buildings have such tight security that no one off the street can walk into lobbies so easily.

These urban living dynamics have pushed aside neighborly relations. So much so, that in times of emergencies, it’s nearly impossible to get help from your community. This is a serious concern for those who initially lived in small towns where the community spirit is alive, and everybody is a friend to everybody else.

Fortunately, this small-town brand of community spirit is now a growing movement in big cities. Even the developers of luxurious apartment blocks are creating building features that would increase social collisions that would foster community spirit. Likewise, unit owners are working together to organize activities that would bring neighbors closer together. Local governments are doing their part to contribute as well.

Top 6 Activities to Strengthen Neighborly Relations

When it comes to events that would boost community relations, there are six that work exceptionally well. Find out what they are in the list below.

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1. Community Picnics

A picnic has long been a favorite gathering among people. It is an opportunity to unwind, chat, and enjoy carefully-prepared food. It is for all of these things that big companies have their own picnics at least once a year.

A community picnic, on the other hand, is more fun. It involves everybody, even the furry four-legged members of families. It also creates the perfect setting for knowing everybody on a more intimate level and connecting with people who share similar interests so they can get together in the future as well.

2. Festivals

Festivals are often organized to increase the community’s pride in their town or city. These big events create excitement and a reconnection to prevailing traditions or cultural practices.

For example, in a lot of Asian countries, festivals involve the participation of the local government, businesses, and even schools. The government takes charge of budgeting and organizations. Businesses, meanwhile, gear up to cater to the onslaught of out-of-towners. And, schools contribute through student performances.

Even individual families volunteer for such festivals. Some are known to temporarily open their homes as accommodations for guests.

All in all, festivals are engaging celebrations. They do not only bring fun to a lot of people, but they also reinforce the pillars of the community, such as its culture and history.

3. Improvement Drives

Preserving people’s pride in their community is another event that everyone usually wants to take part in. Therefore, any drive to further beautify or make the area safer or cleaner generates much support. After all, everybody benefits from the results.

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Clean-up, flower-planting, painting, as well as recycling drives, are just some of the most popular community activities that easily bring people together. These drives also secure the side benefits of boosting the community image and inspiring neighboring towns to do the same.

4. Exclusive Film Showings for Community Members

Exclusive film showings for community members only used to be a common practice in affluent neighborhoods. However, other urban locations have followed suit. Initially, these were scheduled only for the senior members of the community. But now, these exclusive film showings are held to cater to more groups within communities.

Film showings sponsored by the community are becoming more enjoyable due to people’s creative lifestyles. They are thoroughly organized events that include a collection of smaller events such as parties, contests, giveaways, and many more.

Plus, the venues for film showings are something to look forward to as well. They can be from a cordoned-off spot in the local park or a closed-off neighborhood street, especially now that outdoor moving showings are all the rage again. Or, the venue can also be a luxurious premium cinema in the city, which is perfect for special occasions such as Valentine’s Day and Mothers’ Day.

5. Fairs

Fairs or mini carnivals are perfect for communities where members are mostly families with young children. These events offer wholesome fun and an opportunity for local businesses such as boutiques that sell unique clothing lines, restaurants, and cafes, as well as artists to boost their income by getting closer to the people in the neighborhood.

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Just think about that lovely scene in the movie, “You’ve Got Mail.” Joe Fox (played by Tom Hanks) took his young aunt and brother to the autumn community carnival. They went on dinky rides, got their faces painted, played games and won goldfish, and met lovely local folks, which included Kathleen Kelly (played by Meg Ryan).

Indeed neighborhood fairs are excellent events for fostering community spirit.

6. Community Contests

These are ideal for the holidays wherein there are days off of work, and more members of the community can participate. For this upcoming Halloween season, for sure, the large expat communities in Dubai will have their usual trick or treat, and costume contests.

Local businesses hold their own contests, too. There are cafes that host cookie decorating competitions for avid bakers wherein customers and passersby get to be the judges.

So, these are just examples of some of the more notable community events that can help promote a sense of neighborly spirit.

As much as people want privacy these days, there are occasions wherein they can enjoy sharing and spending their time with other people. It’s good to remind them that there are many advantages to having a sense of community. Therefore, it is worth their time and effort to venture out and participate in local events.


Paul Fox is the Director of Roxy Cinemas under Meraas Group/DXB Entertainments. Roxy Cinemas currently has five Dubai locations: The Beach, La Mer, City Walk, Box Park, and Bollywood Parks.

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