Why the front porch?

Everyone loves a front porch. That half-way land between the open air of the neighbourhood and the private, enclosed space of the house. Even apartment building designers realized how important a “porch” of sorts would be to the tenants living therein, so they added balconies. And people sit on them. They bbq on them. Parties spill out onto them. People love their front porches. Or at least, they used to. Have you noticed that new housing developments don’t tend to include a front porch like they used to? I think that’s more about a cultural shift than it is about design trends.

Where have all the front porches gone?

Front porches once served a cultural purpose. It was where families gathered to socialize. It was where neighbours chatted. It was where ideas were shared. It was where people got their news (ah, the days before modern media). People knew each other and what was going on, because of the front porch.

I think blogging does much the same thing, though at a much faster (perhaps to our detriment?) and much wider degree.  If the blog is the modern “front porch”, then presumably, a blog could start a revolution in ideas. It could challenge the status quo, inspire new thinking, share old secrets that once served the world very well… I feel like I’m collecting all those things in a big, big way right now. My life feels like one giant satellite dish, and I’m picking up signals from all over the place. I don’t fancy myself an expert in anything, but some of the things I’m learning are just so obviously good that not sharing them would be shameful. Especially when we look around and see all the things that are wrong, I think our tendency is to reminisce and become nostalgic for a time when things worked well.

So I want to invite everyone who reads this to please share some revolutionary ideas – whatever you’re doing currently that is good, that somehow contradicts the pace, the greed, the pressure, the consumption, the ignorance of the soup we’re in right now.  I’m dying to know what you’re doing that feels like it should be shared on a front porch.


About Maryellen Boyes

Sometimes, being average works to your advantage. I don't have much, but I have a front porch and some big ideas about how to make things a lot better, starting with what we assume is normal.
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