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The end of neighbours - Maclean's

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  • The end of neighbours - Maclean's

    "The evolving modern definition of a good neighbour is no longer someone who is part of your life, someone you chat with over the fence, a reliable shoulder in good times and bad, but someone who doesn’t bother you, either in your enjoyment of your home or by threatening its property value."

    "We are now more insular and more ignorant of the other guy’s thinking. There is greater mutual ignorance than a generation ago between people who live in close proximity. When there’s no habit of compromise, then the very idea of your Congressman reaching across the aisle is apostasy."

  • #2
    this article is so true. i feel like there areno real neighbourhoods anymore. just a collection of housing units that happen to be located together.

    You never really see people interacting anymore around their neighbourhoods. its basically garage opens, you leave. come back home, garage opens you park and close the garage door.
    You also never really see packs of kids playing these days, usually they will be just stuck in their backyards with their parents helicoptering over them.

    Bring back the days of kids playing together, parents having a beer with one another, inviting the neighbours over for a bbq etc.
    be offended! figure out why later...


    • #3
      It's not even just neighbours. It's people in general. Go out and try to make yourself a new friend. Just one. You'll probably give up after you start asking yourself why people are so weird. Then consider if you're just like them...
      "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal


      • #4
        My mileage seems to vary somewhat. I'm on a first name basis with 6 of the 24 nearest households in my building. I know most of the rest to hold the door or elevator for. Just one of the 24 is any kind of nuisance.
        Let's make Edmonton better.


        • #5
          I've always made an effort to meet my neighbours and at least know them to say hello. I mean, if nothing else, it's good to water each other's plants or feed each other's cats while we're out of town, right? But I've definitely noticed that most people don't care as much about this as I do.
          “It’s so beautiful. What sort of bird is that?”


          • #6
            We know many of our neighbours and have made a point of it. It's good to have some local community especially when your kids are roaming the neighbourhood.

            "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"


            • #7
              I'm happy to say that my area of Old Strathcona isn't following the trend in this article. I know a ton of my neighbours, both on my block and around our part of the neighbourhood. Children play with each other while parents talk. Sometimes I have a problem when I'm going for a quick walk with the dog and I keep running into people and chatting. I've also been out for a walk and ended up sitting on a neighbours porch drinking wine for hours. A group of neighbours regularily meet in our back alley to chat about anything and everything (a normal "meeting" has people from 3 or 4 houses, but there are people from 6 or 7 houses that could be considered regulars).

              I love where I live.
              They're going to park their car over there. You're going to park your car over here. Get it?


              • #8
                I think it really depends on where you live and who you are. My sister lives in the SW on a cul-de-sac and knows a good proportion of her neighbours, they have shared treats brought back from trips, dinners and cocktails in the backyard. My mom who also lives in the SW, on the same street for 27years, also knows a good amount of neighbours... although turnover means less than before... but there are BBQs, coffees and random chats on the street. Living in a high-rise condo I often run into neighbours, have hosted and been hosted for drinks or food in multiple units, but I also make a effort to do these things.

                Maybe it is time to bring back the street party!



                • #9
                  Oh yeah, we have a street party every summer a couple blocks away. Brings a lot of people together for fun, food, and music. I've thought about renting some equipment to host a big pancake breakfast sometime as well,
                  They're going to park their car over there. You're going to park your car over here. Get it?


                  • #10
                    I think for a lot of people, what gets them involved in community is children. Once you have kids going to the local school (if you have one), local friends, parents become friends, start going community soccer, community fundraising parties, etc. if you don't have kids, it takes a bit more effort, while some are interested, I think it's OK if choose not to be. I have an older brother whose idea of a happy life is to sit at a screen creating computer programming. He is happy though, even if no one around knows he is there.


                    • #11
                      The best neighbors are found in neighborhoods where the lots are narrow, and the houses sit close to the front street (E.g. Old Strathcona, Alberta Avenue) . I suppose it's a blessing and a curse - if I sit on my front porch, it's nice to have all my neighbors stop or say "Hello", but at the same time, it would be nice to be able to sit on my front porch and read without being disturbed.

                      I have lived in a half dozen other neighborhoods in Edmonton, and the worst ones were the ones where everyone had a big driveway in front of their houses, and the houses sat behind their garages. Nobody knew anyone there, except we all knew about the drug dealer house in the nearby cul-de-sac.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by moahunter View Post
                        I think for a lot of people, what gets them involved in community is children.
                        For sure. Taking a young kid trick-or-treating down your street on Halloween is great for meeting the neighbors.


                        • #13
                          ^its funny, when you go into new neighbourhoods, the garage door houses are often the premium streets, whereas the houses with the garage out back on narrow lots are the "starter" single family homes. Those starter streets are the streets which aren't sterile and lifeless.


                          • #14
                            A bit of chicken little journalism if you ask me. When exactly was this idealized time of neighbourly cohesion? I know my neighbours names. I know when they are away. I know about their hobbies. Are we friends? No. We're neighbourly.

                            However there are many "neighbours" in my community with whom I have much in common. Specifically, kids of a certain age. I'm proud of the fact that my kids can get themselves to the playground, picking up friends along the way and when there they know many of the adults around as well as the kids.

                            If you are concerned about your children getting the "best" coaching/teaching/playground experience etc. and insist on chauffeuring them out of your neighbourhood you may be missing out on the benefits of community.

                            Much has been written about the relationship between healthy cognitive development and autonomy. In order to alleviate (modern, overblown) parental stress over letting kids roam they have to understand the geography of their neighbourhood. That is not learned in the backseat of a car. /end rant


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ajs View Post
                              A bit of chicken little journalism if you ask me. (...)


                              I haven't ever had this problem. I know most of my neighbors. Maybe it is my rural upbringing, but I actually think it is more human nature.

                              If you see yourself isolated, maybe just take a look at how you act. Have you even tried to get to know who your neighbors are?
                              President and CEO - Airshow.