More often than not, after our college days, we become decidedly less social because of all the work to keep up a social life. This is not just because we are busier, but also because of our physical separation. Generally, we can’t just walk outside and be amongst friends like in college. Our car-centric lifestyle has forced our social lives to be more proactive. There’s planning involved before inviting people over. We have to get on peoples' schedules.
More spontaneous socializing happens when people live closer together with pleasant outdoor spaces to congregate.
Imagine a summer early evening in a small rural fishing village. It can be anywhere in the world - be it Southern Europe, Latin America, Asia or Africa. With the aroma of grilled fish in the air, the men and women of the village socialize outside after their hard day while children run around. This happens in the United States, too, when the car is out of the picture and there are nice outdoor spaces to congregate. It's often when not everyone can afford a car. You see neighbors enjoying each others' company outdoors.
It's the same in cohousing neighborhoods. Commonly after work and in nice weather you see a few neighbors sitting on their porches or in a common areas. Eventually more neighbors join them. People bring out drinks and snacks. Someone pulls out a barbeque. Kids run around. Suddenly, you have spontaneous block party with no prior planning. It's the way people have lived for thousands of years and can enjoy today as well.
[Photo: Damian Morys, Creative Commons]