5 Organizations Helping To Bring Communities Together

Feeling connected to others is important for people all over the world. That's why there are several organizations that work to bring people together and build stronger communities. This list, presented in no particular order, shares a few of them.

The #1 entry is the UK Cohousing Network, an umbrella organization for established and forming cohousing groups. These groups are intentional; they are created and run by their residents. Each household is a self-contained, personal, and private home but residents come together to manage their community, share activities, and eat meals.

"Cohousing schemes are intentional communities run by their residents. Each household has a self-contained home as well as shared community space and facilities. Cohousing can be a great way to live, balancing privacy and highly sociable neighbourhood life. Originating in Denmark in the 1960s, the movement has grown across Scandinavia, Germany, and the United States. Cohousing is attracting a lot of interest across the country and UK Cohousing Network is proud to be at the heart of this growing movement."

The organization acts as a resource point for new groups and provides advice for planners, registered social landlords, and other professionals. In addition, it seeks ways of making cohousing as financially accessible as possible and lobbies for better policies related to this goal.

Next up, at #2, we have the Van Alen Institute, based in Brooklyn, New York. This organization works to create equitable cities through inclusive design, envisioning a future where communities are engaged in the conception and creation of their built environment, regardless of income or personal circumstances. It believes that community-driven decision-making builds resilience, social infrastructure, and ultimately, more just cities.

The Van Alen Council is an invitation-only community of leading systems-thinkers spanning the design professions. The group focuses on pressing 21st-century challenges, providing a platform for knowledge sharing about cities, regions, and landscapes. In 2020, the Institute formed Neighborhoods Now, which connects areas in New York City that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic with design firms in its collective network.

Coming in at #3, we have The Hub on Canal. Its mission is to create community by fostering art, education, and a broad range of creative opportunities. Located in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, it aims to act as an incubator for dozens of artists by showcasing their work and offering impromptu artist talks.

The Hub on Canal also produces events and works to extend the arts to the underserved through scholarship programs, mentoring, and music classes and workshops. In addition, it invites students to display and sell their artwork made through its programs.

Rounding out our list, at #4, we present Grounded Solutions Network. This organization seeks a future where everyone has access to a home they can afford in economically and racially diverse communities that foster better health, academic, and economic outcomes.

"Grounded Solutions Network seeks a future where everyone has access to a home they can afford in economically and racially diverse communities of opportunity that foster better health, academic, and economic outcomes. We promote the creation of strong, lasting, and inclusive communities. All people should have safe places to live and should be empowered to shape their neighborhoods into thriving places."

To work towards its goal, GSN supports an ecosystem of housing programs and professionals working with neighborhood-based advocates and allies to expand long-term affordability in communities around the United States. It also promotes national, state, and city policies that influence local economies, housing markets, and funding opportunities to provide lasting affordability and racial and economic justice.