Amy Kirschner writes in Money in the Mountains this month…
Getting to know your neighbors leads to economic opportunities…
If you’re a Burlington resident, you’ve probably heard of Front Porch Forum. The service was started in the Five Sisters neighborhood by Michael Wood-Lewis and his wife, Valerie as a way for neighbors to share news by email.
Front Porch Forum has gotten a lot of press and recognition lately as a community building tool. It’s interesting that beyond building social capital, being neighborly and coming together on community projects, members have found FPF to also be a place to be creative economically.
In the Old North End Central neighborhood, the Soup Mama, started a business delivering soup to neighbors – by bike! – and has been advertising weekly on the forum. A student has taken the fundraising-for-a-school-trip-bake-sale online by offering pumpkin pies delivered to your door the week before Thanksgiving.
Testimonials featured on the website list people who have found plumbers, bought and sold homes, and found tenants for rental properties.
Many of us have skills that we couldn’t pursue full time in the market economy but that could be used to supplement our income. People can sometimes find communities of interest online or in their area that might make a transaction possible, but Front Porch Forum has made it possible to market those skills to your geographical community.
To strengthen and diversify our local economy, there are two strategies we must pursue: creating the capital and creating the market. Front Porch Forum has filled a gap in marketing and exchanging services among neighbors while building community.
eNeighbors is making steady progress in its work in serving neighborhood’s online needs.
26 neighborhoods online.
2,797 registered users at 2,628 unique addresses. We now have neighborhoods in Kansas, Missouri, Florida, Virginia, California, Texas and Arizona.
With 9,745 potential addresses in the neighborhoods that have signed up so far, we are at 27% adoption rate for our entire resident base.
YourStreet.com is launching. From TechCrunch…
What do you get when you combine Google Maps with hyper-local news and comments? You get a map-based news site called YourStreet… [it] detects where you are located and serves up news stories about events that recently occurred in your city or neighborhood, as well comments from YourStreet members who live nearby.
The startup has developed an algorithm that extracts geographical information from stories, such as street names, neighborhoods, and cities. It then geo-codes the articles against a longitude and latitude database so that it can place them on a map… If he can attract enough local visitors to YourStreet, the local dry cleaner may also want to show up to advertise there. The localized ads will be simple text ads at first, but they could also eventually be push pins of a different color.
YourStreet has been self-financed so far by Nicholson to the tune of about $400,000. His last company, Netventures, was sold to CNET in 1999 for about $12 million.
I’m pleased to share this special offer for residents of Burlington, VT…
Sign up for Burlington Telecom service (phone, internet, cable tv) now and receive a $25 CREDIT when you mention Front Porch Forum at the time you place your order. Referral also supports your neighborhood forum. Order at 540-0007 or http://www.burlingtontelecom.net (check the Front Porch Forum box under “How did you hear about us?”). Limited time offer: For new orders placed between 10/25/07 and 12/31/07.