getting intimate with 387,753 strangers

i got into a debate this weekend about the pros and cons of city vs. suburban vs. rural living.  the city gets my vote time and again because it’s the only living environment that allows you to interact with new people every day, thereby creating the opportunity for endless interactions and exchanges.  my friend countered, saying that the hundreds of thousands of people in the city rarely talk to strangers or neighbors, and so you might as well live in a cabin in the woods.  the topic then switched to where we would want our 5 hypothetical vacation homes, and the conversation was seemingly forgotten.

this morning I confirmed minneapolis is the 47th largest city in the nation with 387,753, residents.  47 is a respectable number if for no other reason that it makes the top 50.  still, I’m convinced that if people make an effort toward intimacy, then a large city can feel welcoming and communal.

if welcome mats could speak, they would say something like ‘hello friend! welcome to this house. please come inside and get cozy.” right?  or no? maybe i’m making odd assumptions about inanimate objects.  either way, the welcome mat seems to hint at the importance of community.

today i made 6 welcome mats out of vinyl, stencils and paint, and then i placed them around the city: 3 for residents in my apartment, and 3 for strangers living in houses nearby.ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage
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8 thoughts on “getting intimate with 387,753 strangers

  1. I think I’m on your friend’s side. When I lived in Bloomington I definitely stuck to my crowd and didn’t branch out that much. Whereas when I’m in my small town, I tend to talk to more people just because I wonder where they’ve been that I haven’t met them before.

  2. I have not created a bond with any of my neighbors in the burbs, but had very close friendships with my neighbors in Mpls, and still do. I miss that and hope we can move back for that reason alone. Burb people are too snobby for my taste.

  3. Over the weekend while strolling through Uptown, I spotted one of your welcome mats. It was so cool to see and then tell the group of of people I was with the backstory behind it. Neato! I even snapped a pic of it. :)

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