Loneliness is reaching epidemic proportions in the U.S., with 70% of people reporting feeling chronically lonely and many saying they do not have a single solid friend to turn to. This is a tragedy that can easily be responded to with good environmental design.

Goal:

Fostering an environment in which the average community member has 1-3 deeply intimate friendships.
Eliminating chronic loneliness.
Making it easy to know and be known in a variety of ways.

Strategy:

  • Limiting community size to 150 people per community (communities can be side by side, but it's important to stick to Dunbar's number [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number] for the group that organizes together.
  • Sharing as much common land and resources together, including mealtimes, bathing, sports, art and gardening.
  • Intentionally referencing 45% of the jobs on the community land and open to community members:

    • Massage
    • Cooking and catering
    • Accounting
    • Art
    • Child care
    • Pet care
    • Etc. These jobs are for people on the land and not on the land alike.

  • Community rituals that celebrate the entire range of the psyche, the full range of feelings regularly in both costume, ritual, sharing spaces.
  • Monitoring each feeling as an ebb and flow in the community via the app.
  • Loneliness is broken down into sub-categories and each category is directly addressed:
    • "I am alone because no one knows what I am going through." This occurs in couple dynamics and work dynamics and multiple traumas coinciding where no one is around to witness and validate the experience or support.
      • Living in community means that 80% of experiences are shared and validated.
      • The app insures that those things which "don't come up" at dinner etc. are shared and accessible.
      • Monthly circles of sharing insure that issues involving everyone are witnessed.
    • "I am alone because I give and give and people just pass through my life and I'm not seen for what I give and it does not come back - I'm just emptied and go unseen."
      • By having a limit of 150 people and relating over time, the people who give the most are seen and validated.
      • By having a conscious intention to honor those who give in the app and in community honoring ceremonies, the circle can be complete.
    • "No one really knows me, so I have to give my order every time. I have to start off fresh constantly when meeting someone. I never feel like I belong, am known."
      • By limiting size of people, interacting regularly and using the app, our brains naturally "know" each person's preference around us, and we feel seen.
      • The ability to group-broadcast an announcement to people around us: "I broke my foot - everyone who sees me, please help me with carrying things" leads to response and a feeling of being valued/seen.
    • "I have no one to talk to, know one to eat with, no one to play cards with..."
      • Shared community activities and spaces lead to the ability to share space and belong 24/7.
      • The app allows anyone feeling disconnected to post requests that anyone in the community can respond to.
      • A late night "I want to connect late at night" room - perhaps in the theater and the ability to host midnight parties for art, eating, dancing, playing games and movies is a spontaneous remedy for 3am blues.
    • "I have a broken heart and a big ache inside."
      • Community dogs to pet/play/cuddle is as easy as going outside.
      • Community massage with someone who knows us, schedulable through the app can ease pain.
      • Swimming/bathing/hot-tubbing can ease pain and help us breathe into our bodies.
      • Being around young children is healing.
      • Monthly rituals in which each emotion is honored can provide spaces to share deep grief and be seen.
      • Doing art together can be healing.
      • Trauma and healing support groups, on the app and in person, can help.
      • The ease of meeting others in community can allow losses to mend.
      • Knowing each other well and a community committed to well-being can lead to a circle in which everyone is asked: "Who can and will show up for this person in this way in grief as part of our commitment to a healing community?"

Protocol:

  • Everyone is encouraged to fill out the app feeling profile daily:
    • The wheel of feelings shows every feeling in seven general sections.
    • Each feeling that is conscious is tapped on, then using a slider bar the feeling is shown in intensity, with an option to note the source of that feeling in a note.
    • Then the next feeling etc.
    • This is used to show a daily map in the community on the shared space monitor of the makeup of the communities feelings at present:
      • 7 out of 10 anger section
      • 4 out of 10 shame section
      • 8 out of 10 joy section
      • 4 out of 10 fear section
      • 2 out of 10 happiness section
      • 5 out of 10 creativity, love, lust
      • Level of trauma present in the community: 2 out of ten
    • In the family system (people who check in with each other) anyone who is experiencing intense feelings is checked in with by at least three people.
    • Stuck feelings are brought to the community for integration.
  • Every week the two loudest feelings are worked with in a community space through dance, constellation therapy, art, speaking and movement/role-play until the energy is understood at a positive level, a negative level and everyone understands how to partner with the energy as a friend and bring it into community.
  • The most disconnected person in the community is weekly listened to, heard, and integrated in ritual.
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