Scott’s Thoughts: Being Neighborly

“While the spirit of neighborliness was important on the frontier because neighbors were so few, it is even more important now because our neighbors are so many.”

Lady Bird Johnson, (December 22, 1912 – July 11, 2007) was First Lady of the US as the wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson

Neighbors over the fence

Our world isn’t likely to get less crowded any time soon. This is especially true of economically hearty cities where population density is already high relative to suburban communities. (Though certainly the suburbs are seeing their share of higher-density development!)

There are challenges to living this way, of course — infrastructure and distribution of natural resources — but there are also profound quality of life considerations. How we choose to live with our many neighbors is paramount to creating not only safe but friendly communities.

A true neighbor is not just someone who lives next door. A “neighborly disposition” requires kindness and helpfulness. This might mean sharing tools or pitching in together on projects. It can also mean respecting privacy and sharing information.

Inclusiveness is a big part of creating a neighborly relationship, too. It means not alienating renters or those who might be struggling economically. If you’re going to throw a neighborhood BBQ, be sure you invite the whole neighborhood.

As long as we remain strangers to one another, we will always find ways to remain separate. Being a good neighbor means transcending the silence and anonymity. A greater trust and respect may grow with these connections, and the more connections we foster, the stronger our neighborhoods become.

In this week’s Tuesday Tactics we’ll look at a wide range of ideas for building super cities and human neighborhoods.


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