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A few years ago I moved into a neighborhood that has a tradition of annual block parties. Someone clever took the opportunity to collect the names and email addresses of all the neighbors and put them in a master list available to all. It's a great tool for organizing holiday events, warning of minor crimes and suspicious activity, looking for lost pets, getting group discounts on window washing, and that sort of thing. And it makes everyone feel more connected. It also makes me wonder how awesome it would be to have a more robust social application designed just for neighborhoods.

A typical family is often in need of babysitters, pet watchers, and various odd jobs, both paid and unpaid. It would be terrifically convenient for teens and retired people to post their availability for different types of tasks. Let's assume the neighborhood social application gives you the option of hiding a job listing from the creepy loner down the street, just to be safe.

You could imagine a borrowing section on the site, for tall ladders, special tools, pickup trucks, and that sort of thing. The borrowing would be managed through the application so there's always a record of who has what. After an agreed borrowing period, the borrower would get repeated and automatic email nudges from the system, with a cc to the lender, asking for the item back. That takes the awkwardness out of it. And of course one need not offer to lend anything in the first place. It's all optional.

I would also think ride sharing works best when organized among neighbors. That reduces the need to drive to the pickup area.

I think you'd see neighbors organizing golf outings, movie nights, potlucks, and even vacations. And the kids would always know which neighborhood kids are done with homework and available for a pickup game of driveway hoops.

Neighbors could organize discounts for various services, from gutter cleaning, to window washing, to pool and lawn care, to house cleaning. I think most service providers would agree to a 10% discount in return for doing several consecutive jobs in the same neighborhood without any downtime for travel.

I can imagine a neighborhood social application making it easy to organize shared cooking nights. One family might make the lasagna while another makes the side dish and a third does a salad. If you want to keep the expense contributions similar over time, the system can track how much each family contributes using a simplified cost scale, with salad = 1, side dish =2, chicken = 3, and so on.

Another benefit is job networking. Most jobs are found through personal contacts. The neighborhood application would let everyone know which neighbors are looking for what sort of work. When you're looking for a job, the more people you know, the better.

For some types of jobs, your neighbors are your natural customers. And when you're looking for a real estate agent, or a mortgage banker, it would be nice to know your neighbor is in that business.

That's my idea for today. I hope you tell me the application already exists.

 
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Jun 29, 2012
i-neighbors.org , came out of an MIT project in early 2000s.
As you may guess from the comments here, not too many people use it. My city has a couple dozen Yahoo groups that make up this, every now and then someone will try to create a bespoke site but they always have died.

 
 
Jun 28, 2012
Facebook let's you start clubs. Why invent a completely new Neighborhood app when you can just make a Facebook club with all your neighbors in it?
 
 
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 27, 2012
I AM the creepy loner down the street. Please don't call or e-mail me, and don't knock on my door; I won't answer. And stay off my damn lawn!!! And if you don't keep the noise down with your stupid block party, I'm calling the cops!
 
 
Jun 25, 2012
As your predicted, this already exists. May be not exactly in the way you pictured it. My apartment community has paid for a service that is something like that: https://alliance.secureportala.net/residentportal/login.aspx
Unfortunately, you can't log in and check it out without being a resident. Which is why I said, may be not the way you pictured it.

Also, what's stopping your community from creating a group on facebook and posting things there? Use google docs to create searchable lists. Not ideal, sure, but will do for a scenario that no one would want to pay for or take the trouble to create log ins for. :)
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 23, 2012
What if you dislike a certain neighbor or they dislike you, imagine the public opinion of the neighborhood being swayed against you by a disgruntled neighbor dispute over a barking dog. You'd not only have one neighbor that hated you but they could recruit the others and you'd be worse off than before. In other words, please don't let your dog bark all night long while everyone is sleeping, lady in the house next to mine.
 
 
Jun 22, 2012
Here's the borrowing part: http://neighborgoods.net/
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 22, 2012
I hate my neighbors. I have more in common with people a few hundred miles away than I do with the people a few dozen feet away. This concept that our physical proximity should be at all related to our socialization is quaint and outdated. Go around your California neighborhood and talk to your local Citizen of Red Sox Nation.
 
 
Jun 22, 2012
I would love to live in one of your imaginary worlds. That, or have a few million dollars and live in your actual one. *sigh*
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 21, 2012
Yes! I really do believe that tools that let physical communities and neighbors interact more effectively online is the next big unrealized area of potential for the Internet. This may not be true at the neighborhood level, but if you move out to the city level, I think the key is finding a way to compensate contributors for the work they do keeping everyone else updated, organizing events, etc. It is the resistance to paying anyone but programmers that most stifles progress, in my opinion. The technical challenges, including figuring out how to value individual contributions can be overcome.

We have to recognize that ad revenue needs to be shared with those who do the work to build community - not just those who come up with a way to exploit the community-building activity that they expect to happen for free. Scale requires more dedicated (paid) work.

The ultimate problem is that we don't assign enough value to the activity we want to encourage.
 
 
Jun 21, 2012
Everyblock (everyblock.com) is almost exactly what you're describing. Probably some small differences, but essentially the same root idea.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 21, 2012
Then you'll need an app for creepy loners to access the neighbourhood site anyway, and see whose pet is unattended while the owners are on vacation and which kids are finished their homework and can come out to play.
 
 
+24 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 21, 2012
HEY! Us creepy loners down the street take great exception to being marginalised in this fashion. This software sounds like it is just going to used to organise placard wielding mobs. Again.
 
 
Jun 21, 2012
Good idea - sadly I am too busy and indeed too much of an anti-social geek to ever want to actually communicate with my neighbours. Some of them ARE mildly friendly, others just keep eyes down very determinedly. My wife could be into it though.
 
 
-11 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 21, 2012
Terrible idea.

At least half the people will just leech from the others all the time and not give a damn.

You think they'll look after your brand new cordless drill or not leave your expensive hedge trimmer out in the rain? Think again.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 21, 2012
It's in private beta but I know someone who is building something along those lines: http://noocleon.com

Scott, drop them an email info@noocleon.com, I'm sure they would give YOU a demo.
 
 
-21 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 21, 2012
@ALLMANZA - the traditional way to organise that sort of thing is with a contract called "marriage". If you are a single mother due to unacceptable conduct on the father's part then you have my deepest sympathy, otherwise not so much.
 
 
Jun 20, 2012
Conan, all great and everything, but it still verges on discrimination by basis of religious preference. (Not that what your church - and other churches - is doing is anything less than supportive, but by nature you are serving your own selective population.) The beauty of what Scott is proposing is that it excludes no one that wishes to participate (unless they opt out, of course), and it requires no specific belief system in order to be a member.
 
 
Jun 20, 2012
Terrible idea Scott, don't give it any more thought... <sneaks off to register neighbourbook.com>
 
 
+10 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 20, 2012
We mormons call it church. No technology, but all the same things get done.
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 20, 2012
I am a huge fan of http://neighborgoods.net/ and have been hoping the idea will take off quicker/faster/harder. The problem is that someone finds a site like this and that doesn't automatically mean everyone in the neighborhood gets registered. You still have to like... go talk to your neighbors to spread the word. Which I still like.
 
 
 
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