“Stop and Smell the Roses”

In my societal commentary,”Orion … A Feline Metaphor for Hybrid Governance,” I proposed a hybrid type of governance as alternative to our current political malaise and civic ineptitude. At the center of this hybrid is the Community 3.0 Front Porch civic network. A Front Porch can be the local pub down the street or the coffee-house you get your morning the espresso from. It can be Bill’s garage where everyone hangs out to watch Sunday football games. It can even be your kitchen table. What happens on the Front Porch is what matters … not what it looks like or where it is.

The Front Porch’s purpose is to identify Solutions, whether they be in response of needs or opportunities. These Solutions are designed to help its community pick up the slack and mend their societal safety net. They can range from organizing a cleanup effort, to fixing a playground, to even spearheading a high school mentoring or apprentice program.

To get a more full understanding of the Community 3.0 Front Porch concept, please read the post, “Front Porches.

As a part of the Community 3.0 platform we’ve put together a roster of several examples of what can come of collaborations in your community’s Front Porches. Imagine, take direct action … and this could be your community.

One of these examples is “Stop and Smell the Roses.”

Roses July posterize

Neighborhood Beautification Efforts


Flowers brighten up anyone’s day, and even more so if they take the place of garbage in a vacant lot. Step One example of a community beautification effort is of course the clean-up. That’s where “Help Me … I’m Dirty” comes in. While it’s good start, it’s still just a start.

“Stop and Smell the Roses” will take you and neighborhood to the finish line. With the help of Community 3.0 local Merchants, you can be instrumental in making your community visually everything it can be, enhancing its personality. We will help you organize beautification efforts complete with flower planting and upkeep. Rather than walking by garbage, the members of your community will be able to “stop and smell the roses,” literally.

“Stop and Smell the Roses” is an initiative that encompasses both public and private properties.Community 3.0 Merchants will sponsor neighborhood areas divided up by postal carrier codes, much the same way it’s done with the “Help Me … I’m Dirty” clean-up efforts. Once the beautification areas are established and sponsors assigned, the ground work begins (excuse the pun).

While cleaning up trash and debris is one thing, and most landowners are not going to object to you cleaning up their property … planting flowers might be different. A point person must be assigned for an area to run interference and get approval from all the necessary parties ahead of any action. In case of public properties, approval will have to be obtained at a city or county level. This approval will most likely be coordinated via the Community 3.0 Node Director (lead city evangelist). But in this time of local government austerity, I would hope no bureaucrat would stand in the way of a free community beautification effort. But I would be naive not to think it wouldn’t happen. If such is case however, we will just have to go to the our friends at the media.

Once all the approvals have been gotten, the fun begins. Like “Help Me … I’m Dirty,” “Stop and Smell Roses” is a multi-part process. The first step is the strategy; where to plant, what to plant and where is the product going to come from. Creativity is the key here, from both selection and resource acquisition. Each neighborhood zone should have a central theme, unique to its geography, social feel and complementing what’s already there. It helps to augment its micro-local identity. Each zone should be treated just like your own property. Work every “nook.” Input should even be gotten from the residents of the neighborhoods being beautified. After all they’re ones that will see it everyday. A neighborhood park can be something for one person … and someone else something complete different. It’s this personal expression that make a community what it is … an individual itself.

Local greenhouses need to be approached for the product. Again, this may be the job community Node Director or better yet participating merchant with connections. Once the peak growing passes, many greenhouses donate their remaining stock to civic causes, and Community 3.0 definitely qualifies as that.

Step two is the planting. Zones can be tackled at one time; for example: having a “beautification weekend” or spread out. It all depends on the manpower the sponsoring Merchant has at its disposal.

The third step is the maintenance. As we are all too aware, flowers and plants normally don’t take care of themselves. They need to be watered and weeded. Individual plots within a zone should be delegated one person to be in charge. It’s then up to that person to maintain the plot and determine the resources and people needed (mainly water) and where it’s going come from. These “Plant Care Brigades” should include residents in the neighborhood. The more local involvement and inclusion the better. Beautification doesn’t have to stop with vegetation. A little touch up paint here or there can’t hurt either.

Pride in one’s community and specifically in one’s neighborhood is tantamount to its success. Without it – its residents won’t make that extra effort to make it great. And without that extra effort, it’s likely the community will gradually fall into disrepair, making it even harder to muster up the energy and motivation to “fix it.” “Stop and Smell the Roses” is just another tool to make sure that won’t be the case.


We ask you to help us create a foundation for which our communities can build on in their quest for self-sustainability and well-being. We ask that you, part of our Community 3.0 family to band together with us to create a “Stop and Smell the Roses” initiative in your community. No matter what role you wish to play; whether it’s directly in your community or you’re someone who wants to lend your experience and expertise to us in devising network-wide programs … we welcome you.

To get a more full understanding of the Community 3.0 Front Porch concept, please read the post, Front Porches.Also please follow us on Twitter at @Community3_0, and check out the main 3.0 web site.

And when you’re ready – please comment below, tell us who you are and how you think you can better the 3.0 community.


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