Nextdoor: Social Media for Neighbourhoods

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Most cities, especially those in Canada, are comprised of many neighbourhoods. Oftentimes, our neighbourhoods are as important to us as are our cities.

But do we know our neighbours as well as we used to? Is our sense of community within our neighbourhoods being lost? James Howard Kunstler thinks so, as he dissects suburbia in his TED talk. He talks about the “placelessness” rooted in suburban living across the United States. Unfortunately, Kunstler is right. Neighbourhoods have become alarmingly anonymous.

However, since 2011, 17,000 American neighbourhoods have been connected in a way like never before thanks to an app and website called Nextdoor.

In addition to networking with those around you, there are endless advantages of knowing your neighbours. From staying informed on local events, to advertising a yard sale, to notifying neighbours of a break-in, to finding a babysitter at the last minute or tracking down a dog on the run. Staying connected with your neighbours just makes sense.

Toronto is often known as the City of Neighbourhoods, with over 170 neighbourhoods in the city. But neighbourhoods are an integral part of all Canadian cities from coast to coast to coast.

Nextdoor may not compensate for the chat across the fence, but it helps build communities that are vibrant, safe and trusting – a pre-requisite for any great neighbourhood.

Is Nextdoor an answer to re-engaging citizens in their neighbourhood? To rebuilding neighbourhood associations? To retrofitting suburbia?

Via Pop-Up City

Urban Planet is a roundup of blogs from around the world dealing specifically with urban environments. For more stories from around the planet, check out Spacing on Facebook and Twitter.

2 comments

  1. Like any social app, whether NextDoor will or will not work is all about buy-in. If you can get a critical mass of your neighbours using it, it’ll work. If you can’t, it won’t.

    I live in a largish condo complex, and we’ve got a group for residents on Facebook where we do everything from bitch about people smoking in the stairwells to offering things for sale to coordinating efforts to ensure that our disabled residents were okay during the elevator repair strike.

    It’s not the most full featured group site ever, but it works because most of our residents are already on Facebook.

  2. Not sure if this is a good thing or it isn’t.
    I suspect it is helpful.

    Many communities have Neighbourhood Watches that share bulletins and updates by email distribution. In Centretown Ottawa where I live, most of the people on our block actually talk to each other and come together to discuss all manner of things. From development proposals, to social gatherings to bid people well when they are moving away or moving in, to birthdays. Not sure why it works here and not so much other places.

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