According to the US Census Bureau, the average American moves 11.7 times in his or her lifetime. As the average life expectancy of that same citizen is 78.2 years, most Americans will move every 6.68 years.
It is perhaps this peripatetic lifestyle and an ever-accelerating pace of life that leads many of us to live those 7 or so years without getting to know our neighbors. We don’t know their names and we don’t rely on them–i.e. the original collaborative consumption.
A website called Front Porch Forum is making getting to know your neighbors just a little easier. The site is like the front porch or town square where people voice their needs, opinions, services–pretty much anything. Your particular forum is determined by your street address and unlike a community site like Craigslist, it is not anonymous. There are real names of real people who live really near you. Unlike Yahoo or Google Groups, you don’t need any special interests–just an address.
One of the site’s FAQ’s is “Has it really come to this? Using computers to talk to people next door?” The answer, they believe, is yes. Here’s what they claim:
“In one rural town, we found that half the community had subscribed to FPF after one year and, remarkably, 66 percent had posted….In another study in Burlington, Vt., where half of the city subscribes to FPF, 90 percent reported that their local civic engagement had increased due to this online service.”
Their site includes a sample of posts–things like “Found watch – yours?” and “Audubon summer day camp scholarships available.” The kind of casual stuff you’d chat with a neighbor about. Though we cannot attest to it personally, we imagine this online interaction would serve as a catalyst for face-to-face communication…
LifeEdited shows how to design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy. It’s life. Edited.
Since 1950, the average American consumes 6 times more energy and carries 24 times more personal debt. He uses 3 times more living space, but still doesn’t have enough room to store his stuff, a fact made clear by a $22B personal storage industry. Despite this excess (or perhaps because of it), we find ourselves no happier than we were 60 years ago. Most of us realize it’s relationships and experiences–not possessions–that make us happy. Why don’t we design our homes, products and lifestyles accordingly?
LifeEdited is answering those questions directly. It started in 2009 when Graham Hill, founder of Treehugger.com, launched a competition to design his compact New York City apartment, making it into a living embodiment of the ‘edited’ lifestyle. Following Hill’s popular TED talk about the apartment, he realized he wasn’t the only one craving a better, simpler life.