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A Day in the Life of a Connected Community


     It’s Monday morning in Wilmington and the dogwoods have just started blooming which signals springtime in Southeastern North Carolina. The sun is shining through the large unobstructed windows of Drew’s small home. He lives in one of the ten 640- sqft. homes that encloses a courtyard with green space and gardens. There are also larger 1000 sqft. cottages surrounding another similar courtyard nearby. The community vegetable garden is located adjacent to the community living center for easy access to the teaching kitchen inside. Each home has flower beds that border the courtyard and create a natural barrier between public and private spaces. The canopy of the native trees that surround the community lets in enough sun throughout the day to forgo the need for interior lights on most days.

Drew remembers that tomorrow it’s his turn to weed the flower beds. He likes to volunteer to help with weeding as long as it’s in the early morning or after the sun starts to set. He’s been working with plants alongside his family for many years so he knows a bit more than he lets on. 

      As he looks out from his front porch, off in the distance he can see the fire pit that he and his neighbors gather around on cool evenings. In the other direction he sees the walking path that encircles the courtyard and leads to his favorite walking trail. He’s relaxed as he makes his breakfast while listening to his favorite music. He thinks about his plan for Thursday when he will go to the music studio on the other side of the property to practice his drums. Soon it will be time to get ready to go to work, but first he goes for a brisk walk around the perimeter of the neighborhood. The walk centers him and helps him prepare for the day ahead. After his walk, he will catch the bus from the nearby bus stop to his job never spending more than 20 to 30 minutes riding each way. 

       After work, he will return home via the same bus route then check his calendar to see if he has cooking duty for his group. He and some of his neighbors get together several times each week to share a meal. Occasionally the conversation turns to job or school activities but mostly they are just sharing the task of cooking and prepping their meals. The group cooks in the community living center which has a large kitchen that can accommodate group meal prep. This group doesn’t mind sharing the tasks because they feel pretty comfortable with each other. They have known each other throughout the years from different community activities in town and they went through the community’s cooking class together. Drew feels comfortable enough to let his guard down and just be himself for a little while. 

         After the meal, they clean up and return to their respective homes. Some nights they meet up for a social activity on-site. This evening the group is going bowling. It is a weekly event so transportation is provided either by carpool or in the community van. This activity is enjoyable for Drew but he looks forward to returning home and taking a brisk walk before sitting for a short while on his porch reading his book as the sun begins to set. He can see that several neighbors are already enjoying their porches and he waves to them as they return his wave. 

          While on his evening walk Drew remembers that on Wednesday he needs to do inventory.  He’s in charge of the community’s shared garden tools and supplies. He keeps a checklist and makes sure to let the community manager know when it’s time to reorder.

          He enters the home using a security code on the keyless door.  He’s glad he doesn’t have to keep up with keys and worry about being locked out.  He checks his email at the desk that overlooks the back patio. He realizes his roommate Josh is home when he hears his wheelchair come through the back door.  They spend a few minutes discussing their day.

         They grab a deck of cards and play a few rounds of poker then retreat to their bedrooms which are at opposite ends of the home. Although the home is much smaller than the typical home, it is designed to give these guys plenty of space to themselves both in and outside the home. 

        Drew prefers to shower before bed since it relaxes him. After 10 minutes, the shower sensor alerts him that he’s used his allotted time and he finishes up.  Drew is grateful that there are electronic reminders throughout the house that help him live safely and independently. He goes to bed with the sound of waves from his sound machine lulling him to sleep.

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