Westporters love their privacy.
And their pools.
But here, counterintuitively — and from the very exclusive Burritts Landing neighborhood on Long Island Sound, off Saugatuck Avenue — comes this story from Bruce Kasanoff. It originally appeared on the “What Inspires Me” section of LinkedIn:
My neighborhood is a bit odd, in that a few dozen houses share one swimming pool. This is because 50 years ago, one large property was subdivided and the developer left the existing pool intact. He specified that all houses would jointly share in its usage and upkeep.
The 100-year-old pool has two-foot thick walls and is larger than a typical residential pool. It is great for swimming laps. (I say this theoretically, as someone who doesn’t actually swim laps.)
Very few people aspire to share a pool with a few dozen neighbors. Instead, people want their own pool.
After 15 years of sharing, I can tell you that sharing is much, much better. You pay less for upkeep, yet enjoy a bigger pool. But that’s not even close to the best benefit.
Thanks to the pool, we have an extremely social and friendly neighborhood. Instead of hanging out in our own yards, we hang out together at the pool. We meet each others’ friends and relatives. We share food and sometimes have communal dinners.
Here’s where it gets really interesting, at least to me. Sharing the pool created a culture of sharing in our neighborhood. When my kids were younger, our neighbors approached us with a proposal. Our swing set was getting pretty shaky, and our kids had mostly outgrown it. So our neighbors offered to buy a much nicer new one that we would share, but — because they didn’t have a flat spot in their yard — they asked to put it in ours. We agreed.
Then another neighbor bought a trampoline, that everyone shares. Another bought a soccer net. Same deal. Today, the swing set is long gone but we share a garden with our neighbors.
I’d like to think that this is where we are headed as a society: sharing more.
Increasingly, technology makes this easier. For example, The People Who Share website lists over 8,000 companies and organizations that facilitate sharing. Share a car, house, meal, artistic event, or even a dog.
You don’t need a venture capitalist and a programming team to start sharing. You just need to adopt a sharing mindset. Once you do, don’t be surprised if you discover that sharing is contagious.
(Hat tip: Maxine Bleiweis)