Networking is one of those important aspects of business that the networking event is trying its best to kill. They call to mind windowless hotel bars with people speed passing out business cards in halfhearted sales attempts. Part of the problem is that the events themselves tend to feel forced, under some guise of feigned similar interest. On the other hand, they can play an important role in creating relationships that foster growth, especially when genuine connections are made.
What does this have to do with the idea of the Forgotten City or neighborhoods? As our neighborhoods have increasingly become car oriented over the last several decades, they have become more closed off, losing the valuable connections that create a real sense of community and help establish attachment to our cities. In this way, South Bend neighborhoods, like Marquette Park, become part of the Forgotten City themselves. To expand on this further, neighborhoods are this part of the City, that when you stop and look closely at their own unique flavor, contain the power to both recruit and retain people.
Regular neighborhood scale networking events are ways to develop those connections. We used to be part of “Margarita Mondays” where neighbors would gather in the evening on a front porch and share drinks. Not unlike so many of the networking events we typically attend, but with the similar interest of shared residence. Proximity plays an important role in shaping lasting connections and where you live takes full advantage of that closeness.