A few years ago, David Bramwell had an idea. After travelling round the world for a year visiting co-operative and neighbourhood groups, he realised we need to connect with our neighbours to have a happier life. Modern life disconnects us from people who live next door and in our street- we need to get back to basics and connect again.
I read the article about Brighton Zocalo in August’s issue of ‘Psychologies’ magazine with a lot more details about David’s ideas and philosophy.
Brighton Zocalo is an attempt to evoke the spirit of the piazza. In countries like Mexico (where the word zocalo originates) hanging out on the street with friends and neighbours is part of the culture. In England we sometimes need a little coaxing.
On Zocalo Day we invite you to step out from your home, plonk a chair on the street and get to know your neighbours. Of course, if you want to share tea and biscuits with them, all the better.
Brighton Zocalo was started in Hanover in Brighton by White Dot, the campaign against television. It was then picked up and run with by the organisers of Brighton’s Catalyst Club, and has been expanding throughout the city each year. Thousands of people have joined in, dragging out sofas, bringing games to play, hanging fairy lights and sharing food and drink.
Zocalos are mercifully free of fund-raising, red tape, council intervention and Union Jack bunting. All Brighton Zocalo needs is a bit of good will and a chair. And with any luck, at the end of the night you’ll find you’ve acquired a whole load of new friends who just happen to live down the road.
Take a look at Brighton Zocalo’s site and see what you think. Maybe you could start a Zocalo in your town, city or even village…