I just opened the Facebook pages for '50 Ways to Meet Your Neighbour' and I'm looking forward to seeing people's ideas and suggestions, whether or not they are lyrically consistent. I'm keen to see whether anyone can improve on Nick Buckley's 'Just take in a parcel, Marcel'...
Meanwhile, here's the wordy justification bit in the background:
Not everyone lives in a neighbourhood, but everyone has the right to try to improve their locality by improving relations with those around them. This principle is seldom acknowledged in policy. Yet mutually-supportive connections that generate trust between residents can make an enormous difference for a wide range of social policy measures.
Neighbouring is already subject to policy influence. Decisions affecting planning, local transport, local trade, schools, welfare, safety, parks and so on, all have an affect on whether or not people encounter their neighbours and have something in common which they feel able to talk about.
Of course, individual choices also have an affect. If you only ever get into a car when you leave your home, you’re less likely to recognise your neighbours and have a supportive relationship with them. If you don’t have – or don’t use – a local park, café, pub, post office or community centre, you’re less likely to meet other local people in a safe, neutral space. You’re also less likely to know the young people who share your neighbourhood – who almost certainly occupy it more than you do.
One way to persuade policy makers that neighbouring is worth taking seriously is to focus in on the sort of actions that make it easier to meet other neighbours. The idea behind ’50 Ways’ is to make a loud statement about why neighbouring matters and what can be done to stimulate it.