I remember when I first moved to Sweden and experienced it for the first time. I was walking around my neighbourhood and it felt like a ghost town. No one was out walking their dog or playing in the park. Cars that usually line the streets after an evening of searching and searching for the last parking spot near Kungsholmstorg were suddenly gone. Was there something I didn’t know? Where is everyone? The place was dead. That was 15 years ago, I was new to Sweden and it was the day before midsummer, Sweden’s biggest holiday. There was a feeling that everyone else had a place to go but me. That I was left behind. I was a stranger in my own community, living beside thousands of people but with no real contact with anyone.
Nowadays even though I know hundreds of people in my own neighbourhood and feel connected most of the time, I can still get flashbacks. I live here, I coach my kids basketball teams, take my kids to school everyday, have my company and our offices next to the square, go grocery shopping here, go the bank here etc. etc. and still I can feel disconnected at times.
So I am not surprised to read that despite the fact that people live closer together than ever before, there is a growing trend of loneliness in big cities and integration is one of our lifetime’s biggest challenges. With so many people around us it is easy to get lost in the crowd. The impact of this can be devastating to our quality of life and our desire to contribute to a world that requires us work together to solve the complex challenges of today. Is there an alternative? Is there a way to disrupt this pattern in a meaningful way? How could we all contribute to the community we live in? How might we make it a little more fun, generous and connected. How could we foster a feeling of inclusion, openness and connectedness?
For the second year, THREAD is sponsoring ‘Kungsholmstorgs Dag’ the local event (30 sep) which we originally initiated with a group of passionate locals in 2015. This is another attempt to create the conditions for active citizenship, which is the purpose of OpenTHREAD. We believe that if communities are full of engaged, connected and generous citizens there is a better chance of being able to successfully navigate the challenges that face our society. We believe that the successful ethnic and social integration of marginalized groups begins at the local level. We believe in the power of strangers meeting face-to-face in breaking down prejudice and fear. We believe in the importance of building communities where people meet, feel connected and a part of something important. Yes in communities such as these, challenges are met with the necessary humility, creativity and collaboration to make our world a better place for all.
On Sep 30 Kungsholmstorg will definitely be ALIVE….to learn more about ‘Kungsholmstorgs Dag’ or get involved:
OpenTHREAD is our attempt to contribute to the world we want to live in. By dedicating part of our time, as employees, to our local communities, we hope to make it easier for people to take initiative. If you are interested in learning more, please contact OpenTHREAD project leader Max Lauritzen at firstname.lastname@example.org. What do you want to do for you community?