“HOW DOES OUR COMMUNITY INDUCE FRIENDSHIP & BONDING ?” ( Question by Billy to Di Gow and Linda Fornaciari at Ladera, Portola Valley, Ca. – Nov. 2020

Di and Linda did a mini-survey among a number of long-time Ladaera residents and summarized their findings below :

From Lennie Roberts :

Hi Di, This is a bit tangential to Billy’s questions, but I think our community spirit is rooted in the vision of the Founders who formed the original Cooperative. The early days had people sharing lots of resources. When we moved here in 1965, there were monthly square dancing nights with a live caller – for all ages and abilities – at the school multi-purpose room.  In the 1970’s the “lady Managers” organized a great variety of summer arts and crafts, and fun sports activities for kids of all ages. Lowell Johnson organized Movie Nights there as well- geared primarily to the kids,
But adults used to go too.
All of these have kept evolving, and I never fail to be impressed by the LRD’s key role in the community, and every issue of the Crier which knits our neighborhoods together in myriad ways.

 From Noel Hirst :
Thank you for asking this question. Friendship in Ladera is the ability to create your village, that group of people that comes together to support each other’s families, children, neighbors with words of wisdom, actions, caring acts of kindness. I takes a village and we create our special village in Ladera.
No matter how long it has been since you have seen a neighbor, you pick up where you left off and have shared knowledge of the community and experiences.
The Ladera community creates and nurtures a desire to volunteer and support the community, community events, and each other’s causes.
The goodness in our community drives us to want to see one another, to gather on our blocks, at events, or at the shopping center to chat, to catch up, socialize. Many other neighborhoods do not have this draw to meet and greet new and long time neighbors.
We have comradery at our neighborhood events. We have fun with our local friends. Ladera has a special shared vibe of connectedness.
Craig and I do believe that he Rec Center is a major draw that helps to build these connections, as it is where you meet much of the neighborhood when you first move here. However, the spirit or vive allows you to be connected even if you are not a Rec visitor. You can connect on your block, and on the paths. ( See Billy’s comments regarding paths )now
From Conversation with Another Longtime Resident :
She said she didn’t want to respond in writing because she felt that the “Newcomers” make no effort to be friends with the “Longtimers”. She says every time she has new neighbors, she brings them cookies or does something to welcome them, but never feels like they ever respond or reach out in friendship which she thinks is so much different than when she moved here 50 years ago.

Overall Observation:
On many Ladera streets and cul de sacs, there is still good interaction between the old and the young neighbors.  But clearly people today seem to be much more preoccupied than before.
Billy’s Comments:
As a student of Architecture and Planning, I learned that this hillside community of approximately 540 families now was cleverly planned with basically “the main loops with stings of cul de sacs attached”. The concept is very much like that of Yale University’s Residential College System.  The smaller colleges allow the development of more intimate relationships, yet they are pulled together by the centralized library and athletic facilities. Furthermore, an unique Ladera Pedestrian Trail System, crisscrossing the entire property, has allow neighbors to take short cuts – favorite pathways for imaginative children, especially.