I read this article in the ADN in mid-July and it got the ideas rolling. http://www.adn.com/opinions/2016/07/19/why-we-need-front-porches/
We like the idea of front porches building a sense of community. Invite someone for a sit in the front yard. Gather, discuss, get to know one another. ACH has had great success with more on the street community by planting gardens in its front yard. People stop to talk and get to know one another all less than a block from Lake Otis. Community is happening right in the middle of town!
The idea is to build portable "porches" that can be delivered once the snow is gone and pick them up again before the snow flies. We also plan to add a planter to the porch, some living aspect when not occupied by people, maybe something living on the porch is the inviting aspect to get people to sit and stay a bit. There will be no cost to request a front porch. If we find lots of success with the project, we will ask for donations from those who want porches and can afford to donate in successive years to secure the building of more porches.
We've asked Yarducopia,among others, to be involved in the plant aspect of the porches as it is a proven community builder through gardening. ACH can do the manual labor - building or facilitate the building tapping into its tool library and possibly the DIY community to build them by offering how to classes and facilitating the delivery and pick up and general maintenance.
The design we have in mind is a folding picnic table that converts into a bench. It can be set on almost any surface. We will burn into the tops of the tables the partners and donors to the project as a form of recognition.
General design is here: http://www.woodworkerz.com/one-piece-folding-bench-picnic-table/
We would like to pilot with about 10-15 portable front porches around town.
Funded by Alaska (September 2016)