Fences

Community, Our House, Sustainability

Chainlink FenceOur backyard in Langley had a fence, a tall fence. It wasn’t just a backyard either, it was a side yard and even fronted the street on one section. The fence was imposing, and as added protection, there was a hedge on the street side of the fence. The fence, in this instance was really a defence, a way to keep out invaders and increase privacy.

Our previous home, (in Castlegar) on 3/4 of an acre in the suburbs of a rural town had a 4′ wire fence designed to keep dogs in (or out) and deter other wildlife. Our neighbours were part of our life, during harvest we would regularly see each other out in the yard picking peaches, apples, vegetables or maintaining the yard. The fence was a delineator, defining ownership, but permitting community.

The trouble with a high solid fence is that you never see your neighbours. Now you might consider that to be the ideal situation for you, but consider that if you were in an emergency situation, and needed help, or there was a natural disaster – you may be forced to work together with your neighbours. So, wouldn’t it be a good idea to share more than just a wave as you drive down the road? Break down those fences, (whether physical or literal) and get to know your neighbours. Strong communities are resilient communities.

About the author: Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

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  • Allan - Weldless Chains Dec 30, 2012

    Most of the time, the fences are for privacy, which is ok, but don’t accept living next to people you don’t know. Let them get to know you and get to know them so you have a reason to be neighbors. Watch eachothers’ houses and keep each other safe in case of fire or emergency like you said.