I just read an article in Curbed.com listing 101 ways you can improve your neighborhood and couldn’t resist sharing 9 ways to improve Santa Barbara. Even those of us who live in picture perfect Santa Barbara can take advantage of these ideas and make our area even more special. Here are my favorites:
- Don’t eat so much meat. A 2016 Oxford University studyshowed reducing the amount of meat we eat by half could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save over $31 trillion (trillion, with a T) in healthcare costs. Join the #MeatlessMondaymovement by pledging to stick to veggies one day of the week.
- Volunteer.There are dozens of local groups doing their part to make Santa Barbara an even better place to live and visit. Spend a few hours doing your part. Simply go to Volunteer Match to find opportunities here in Santa Barbara.
- Share your idea with your neighbors. “Often, your neighbors need a little help figuring out how to make their ideas happen, and you can easily share suggestions or donate money on Neighborland,” explains Dan Parham, founder ofNeighborland. “There is real power in sharing our ideas openly, connecting with others who share the same desire, and working together to make great ideas happen, like this streetscape improvementfor the Mission District of San Francisco.”
- Talk to someone for 10 minutes. Take a lesson from Charlotte, NC where the Take 10 projectrecruits city workers to act as “ambassadors,” engaging with residents. These ambassadors ask residents what they like about their city and their ideas to make it better. You can also thank them for making Santa Barbara work!
- Become a tour guide for your neighborhood. We who are lucky enough to live in paradise can easily share our good fortune just by showing visitors around. Using Vayable, create and share guided tours of the hidden gems in your neighborhood.
- Smile, particularly at strangers. “If you are feeling Southern enough, actually speak. It instantly makes the world a better place,” says Carol Coletta, senior fellow with The Kresge Foundation’s American Cities Practice.
- Shop local. It’s simple, straightforward, and an easy addition to your routine that supports local businesses,provides community jobs, and reduces transportation costs and carbon emissions. Check out my previous blog about shopping along the historical State Street Plaza.
- Hang some chandeliers. Check out The Chandelier Treein Los Angeles. It has become a local landmark due to the dozens of lighting fixtures ensconced in a lovely sycamore. Neighbors donate to the electric bill using a repurposed parking meter. In Vancouver, a spinning, LED-lit chandelieris being installed under a bridge underpass.
- Set up a small, interactive community art project. “Share your art with people in small ways,” explainsJim Walker, founder and director of theBig Car Collaborative. “With our As You Wish project, our artists made versions of people’s wishes with cheap materials we had on hand. With Forensic Friends, people stopped by our artists on the street and described a friend like you would if you were doing a forensic sketch of a criminal. But, instead, the artist draws a portrait of a friend from the description. With Listening Booth, we simply have somebody sit and listen to anybody who wants to talk.”
I hope these 9 ways to improve Santa Barbara have inspired you to make our slice of paradise an even greater place to live. If you want to join those of us fortunate enough to live here, or if you are already one of us and are considering moving to, or within, Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, I’m here to help. Please take a look at my comprehensive website then call me at 805.886.9378 or email me at Cristal@montecito-estate.com.